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The implant steadily releases the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream, which prevents the release of an egg each month (ovulation).
It also thickens the cervical mucus, which makes it more difficult for sperm to move through the cervix, and thins the lining of the womb so a fertilised egg is less likely to implant itself.
You can have the implant put in at any time during your menstrual cycle, as long as you’re not pregnant.
If the implant is fitted during the first 5 days of your menstrual cycle, you’ll be immediately protected against becoming pregnant.
If it’s fitted on any other day of your menstrual cycle, you’ll need to use additional contraception (such as condoms) for 7 days.
You can have the implant fitted any time after you’ve given birth.
If it’s fitted before day 21 after the birth, you’ll be immediately protected against becoming pregnant.
If it’s fitted on or after day 21, you’ll need to use additional contraception (such as condoms) for the next 7 days.
It’s safe to use the implant while you’re breastfeeding.
The implant can be fitted immediately after a miscarriage or an abortion and you’ll be protected against pregnancy straight away.
A local anaesthetic is used to numb the area on the inside of your upper arm.
The implant is then inserted under your skin – it only takes a few minutes to put in and feels like having an injection. You won’t need any stitches after your implant has been fitted.
Nexplanon works for 3 years before it needs to be replaced. You can use this method until you reach the menopause, when a woman’s monthly periods stop naturally.
The implant can be removed at any time by a specially trained doctor or nurse. It only takes a few minutes to remove, and a local anaesthetic will be used. The doctor or nurse will make a tiny cut in your skin to gently pull the implant out.
As soon as the implant has been removed, you’ll no longer be protected against pregnancy.
Most women can be fitted with the contraceptive implant.
It may not be suitable if you:
Some medicines can make the implant less effective, such as:
If you’re taking any of these medicines, you’ll need additional contraception (such as condoms), or you may wish to use a different method of contraception that isn’t affected by your medicine.
Always tell your doctor that you’re using an implant if you’re prescribed any medicine. You can also ask them whether the medicine you’re taking will affect the implant.
In rare cases, the area of skin where the implant has been fitted can become infected. If this happens, you may need antibiotics.
You should also see a GP or healthcare professional at any time if:
You can get the contraceptive implant for free, even if you’re under 16, from: