Can You Get Pregnant On Depo? Answer, Effectiveness, Side Effects

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Depo shot ready on white background.
Source: http://teenhealthsource.com/

Women have numerous options when it comes to birth control. Many women choose Depo-Provera, simply known as depo, over other methods because it’s simple and convenient. With depo, you never have to worry about taking a pill each day.

What is Depo-Provera? Can you get pregnant on the depo shot?

We’ll answer all of these questions and more, so you can make an informed decision on your birth control method.

What is the Depo Shot?

The depo shot is a method of contraception for women. The shot contains a hormone that is similar to progesterone.

The shot can only be administered by your doctor, and is injected in the buttocks or arm. Shots are effective for 12-14 weeks, but women are advised to get the shot every 12 weeks for maximum protection.

Depo-Provera can start working immediately if you get the shot within the first five days of your period.

As a hormonal contraceptive, the depo shot suppresses ovulation. It also makes the uterine lining and the cervix hostile to fertilized eggs and sperm. The shot contains a synthetic version of the progesterone hormone to prevent pregnancy.

The depo shot is fine for most women, but is not recommended for those with:

  • Blood clots
  • Breast cancer
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Liver disease

Women with osteoporosis should be cautious about this method of birth control as it can contribute to bone loss. Other forms of contraception may be a better option for teens.

11 Side Effects of the Depo Shot

Depo-Provera is highly effective, but it can cause some side effects, including:

  1. Acne
  2. Anxiety
  3. Headaches
  4. Hair loss
  5. Irregular periods, or no periods at all
  6. Dizziness
  7. Depression
  8. Weight gain
  9. Changes in your appetite
  10. Loss of bone density
  11. Unwanted body and facial hair

[Read more about Dizziness]

Of all these possible side effects, changes in the menstrual cycle is the most common. Many women experience spotting or irregular bleeding. After one year, about half the women on this shot will stop getting their periods altogether.

The good news is that after you stop taking the shots, your periods should return to normal.

Weight gain is another common side effect. On average, women gain five pounds during the first year of using Depo-Provera.

How Effective Is the Depo Shot?

It’s possible, but highly unlikely. The depo shot is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, and only 3 in 1,000 women will get pregnant while using this method of contraception.

More often than not, the women who have gotten pregnant on depo likely conceived before the shot. There are potential risks with continuing the shots if you’re pregnant, such as premature birth, so women are advised to be on the lookout for early signs of pregnancy when using this form of birth control.

Can you get pregnant on the birth control shot?

Of course, no birth control is 100% guaranteed effective, so there is still a chance that pregnancy could occur while on the shot.

How to Get Pregnant On Depo

If you’re on depo, it’s important to remember that getting pregnant is highly unlikely unless you stop taking the shot. It makes little sense to continue getting depo shots if you plan on getting pregnant in the near future.

If you want to get pregnant while on this form of birth control, the first step is to stop getting the shots.

Second, it’s important to understand that the synthetic progesterone in the shot can remain in the body for up to one to two years.

Many women are able to get pregnant within three to four months of stopping the shot. For other women, it can take up to two years to conceive. The longer you’re on the shot, the longer it may take for your body’s cycle to return to normal.

If you’ve recently gotten a shot, and have decided that you want to conceive, do not get your next shot. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to get pregnant in the meantime. The hormones need to get out of your system and your cycle needs to return to normal before you can get pregnant. Depo-Provera prevents ovulation, which makes it impossible to get pregnant if the shot is working as intended. Although there is a slight chance that you could get pregnant, there is a risk that the pregnancy could be ectopic.

Many women who decide they want to conceive after getting a depo injection are very disappointed to learn that the hormonal effects of the shot last much longer than anticipated.

Is it possible to get pregnant on depo? Yes, but again – it’s highly unlikely. Depo-Provera is a powerful form of birth control, and it’s highly effective. There is still a 1% chance that you could get pregnant, but the odds are against you. This is great news for couples who don’t to have children. However, if you decide that you want to conceive, you will need to stop getting the shots and wait for the effects of the birth control to wear off.

53 COMMENTS

    • I just got my second Depo shot and totally regret it. I would look for other options if possible. Depression has been kicking my butt for the past two weeks and seems to be getting worse. Not to mention the mood swings from hell.

    • Hey, I got my shot the other day and my doctor said that both of them work but the 3 month shot is stronger and more intense then the 2 month. They generally use the 2 month for younger people like teens.

      • On July 16 or 17 2017 I Had Got The Repo after I Gave Birth To My Son Which Is Now 5 Months I Haven’t Had A Period Since after My 6-8 weeks of bleeding Was Up, I do have Sex But At the Same To My Body Doesn’t Feel Prego any Answers ?

  1. I got the depo shot to prevent pregnancy and a few days ago I had a miscarriage. Didn’t know I as pregnant but heard if you’re on the shot and you do get pregnant it doesn’t stick. Happened to my friend too so be aware that this happens

  2. I took the depo provera shot march,9,2016 and it is now July,29,2016 and I’m slightly bleeding do that mean my shot have wore off and I can get pregnant

    • If its past ur 12wks.. more than likely. Remember that once u start bleeding and ur past ur shot date..ur body will start releasing eggs again.

    • Yes it is possible that it is wearing off because your late on getting your shot , you must go every 3 months so you won’t see bleeding as much

  3. If I have been on the shot for over a year, never missed an appointment and had unprotected sex more then once. Would the clinician be able to tell if I’m pregnant at my next appointment? Also does this shot make you constipated??

  4. I have been on depo for three years and decided last month not to go back to get my shot and I have been having unprotected sex since can I get pregnant.?

  5. I just had a c-section on the first and got out of the hospital on the 3rd and had my depo shot that same day. I just recently had sex with my husband on the 19th. Can I still get pregnant while on the depo shot and still trying to heal from the c-section.

  6. I got a depo shot done at the beginning of this month and had unprotected sex twice in the past 2 weeks and have been feeling nauseous and dizzy could I get pregnant? Could the depo not be strong enough for me ?

  7. Am too worried, I had a second shot on 5th august, this year had sex wit my bf on 1st Sept..my breasts are too paining, & have back ache , advise me plz

  8. I have been using the depo for about 9 months now and was late each time taking it my shot runs out the 21 of Dec but I am bleeding now, can I get pregnant?

  9. I just became preg and about 5 weeks, I was on the depo shot for around a year, my last one was November 28 don’t know how it happen, but is the baby going to be ok should I be worried having a child with autism or birth defects? Or am i going to have a miscarriage.

    • I was on depo for almost 6 years and I found out im 5 weeks pregnant and I didn’t miss a shot I think I was on it to long and my body became used to it

  10. I have been on the depo shot for abouta year and half now not missed not one shot. my last shot was Dec 4th. I have not had a period or spotting in about a year and the other day started spotting and very very tired and weak, could it be i am pregnant?

    • Hiya. Iv been on depo for 3 years and never missed or had a late shot. I too have had spotting about a month ago and since then iv had stomach pain. Sickness. Heart burn and dizzy spells. My last shot was on the 21st dec and i asked the nurse about this before the she gave it to me and she told me to come back in two weeks if it hasnt subsided. Cheers nurse! Get a test!

      • Hi i have the same symptoms i have been on the depo 3 years this july and havent seen anything untill tuesday this week just gone i had like brown discharge but it stoped and yesterday i had abit of bleeding i rang the doctors as it keeps coming and going they told me could i be pregnant and when i told him how can i be when iv been on it for 3 years he then replied you can get oregnant on the depo mrs hazlehurst i always thought you couldnt and if u been on it for so long there are chnces yourl body has rejected the last depo shot as thats what happend to me but there is a risk of me being pregnant but to early to do a test as last unprotected sex i had was 4 days ago i also was told after every 2 years your supose to come off the shots for 6 months to give your body a break i bever thought you could fal pregnant on the depo im still waiting to see what happens as i have stoped again now but if it gets worst the bleeding i will need test done hoping nothing to serious as me and hubby has 2 children already and didnt want any more hope you get your answer to

  11. I had sex with a couple partners and I still don’t bleed or anything, but now my body feels weird and my bf said he came in me…I have weird stomach cramps from tme to time and I’m terrified that I might be pregnant? Help? Can anyone relate?

  12. Hi, I took my last depo shot almost four months ago due to severe depression and weight gain. I read that it takes up to 10 months for fertility to return as normal so i neglected other contraceprives. I’ve only taken the shot since last year May. Im now experiencing tender breasts, the only time ive experienced this is when i previously fell pregnant. Ive used the depo for such a short time is it possible to be pregnant? I am sexually active and my boyfriend and i have unprotected sex.

  13. I’ve been on the depo since febuary. Had protected sex on March 7th. I k n own this sounds funny, but my lower right abdomen been twitching, is there a chance that I can be pregnant?

  14. Hey I was wondering about being pregnant, I have been on the depo shot for 5 years now an I have never missed a shot an my next shot is due June 14th but I am also taking prednisone, I have had really sick feelings and mood swings an also the smell of food an other things make me sick is there a chance i could be pregnant?

  15. I had sex when i first got the depo and we have been having unprotected sex since then… went to the hospital a week ago and had a bad stomach bug and negative blood test but now a week later i am spotting and having streching feeling… should i retest??

  16. I’ve gotten my depo shot on the 22nd or 23rd of august and a week after Ive had unprotected sex with my boyfriend numerous of times that week, could I be pregnant or no?

  17. Hey my name is carson i hed got the depo shot and since me and my boyfriend have been have sex i had been felling sick unable to keep food dowb and waking up in the middle of the night getting sick what should i do

  18. I hope there wasn’t a bad batch of depo going about as my 3yr old said I got a baby in my belly my vision is getting poor only happens when my pregnancy hormones fluctuate how would I cope with a 4th ahhh

  19. I have been on the shot for 4 years, always have unprotected sex.. I have had sore boobs this past month, and the past few days I’ve been naseaus every night, have been having extreme mood swings, and am always tired.. have had one negative home test I took jan. 1st. Anyone else have these symptoms? Did you find out that you’re pregnant?

  20. I’ve been on drop since December 22,2017 and I’ve had my period January 12-18 and I recently had unprotected sex January 19, 2018 is there a possibility I can get pregnant

  21. My name is kaylee and ive only been on the depo for two months I have to go get my bext one next month and ive been showing sighns that im possibly pregnant again. I have been for an month having morning sicniss and ny mood swings are really high and ive had back pains and tierd niss and always hingry and im also starting to get a preg tummy and ive been spotting this whole time. In worred that I could be pregnant again while im on the depo shot for every three months

    • I know how you feel I’ve felt like that ever since I’ve had the injection and I’ve had it 3 times but only thing that worries me is I was bleeding with the first 2 injection and now with the 3rd I ain’t 🤔

    • I’ve been on the depo for almost 9 months now & every since I have had it I’ve had constant back pains, dizziness & feeling sick 24/7. My mood swings are getting worse.
      All I can suggest for you love is to either take a pregnancy or go to the doctors just to get yourself checked.

  22. Can any medications or antibiotics make the shot stop working? In other words, Can you get pregnant if you mix the shot with certain medications?

  23. Hello could anyone help me have better understanding okay I just had my 4th child November 28,2017 and I only had bleeding for 4 weeks after I had him so I didn’t start a period but then I went January 2, 2018 and got my first depo shot and then January 12th I started spotting brownish and bright reddish color but looked lighter then dark bright red ok well I spotted like that from January 12th-19th then started bleeding since then this February 9th and ever since February 9th I been spotting brownish/reddish again but it’s slowed down to small spotting but I had been feeling dizzy and weak and boobs are sore on the sides and my belly hurts and lower back and I also thought well this seems like pregnancy symptoms but I looked online and it saying it’s only 1% chance of getting pregnant on depo but I still took like 6 pregnant test and 4 came back negative but then like next morning I wake up and these where took different days but they were negative first then next mornings the were positive with faint lines then last two I took was negative so I just thought maybe they negative, but I’m worried because idk if I am supposed to bleed like this and is pregnancy test are correct over night says not to read after ten mins so I’m worried could I be pregnant. I was wondering would the hcg hormone still be from when I had my son he is almost 3 months

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  25. My daughter who is 17 yrs old – We decided that this was a good fit for her – I did not know exactly at the time she was Sexually Active because, she was keeping it a secret she wasn’t telling me (or) the Dr. however, She got on the shot in July of 2017 – September 28, 2017 she started getting sick to where she was doubling over and was in so much pain she was crying and i ended up taking her to the ER. They obviously did the pregnancy test and it came back negative , they also did a CT scan and A Ultrasound to check the kidneys and the gallbladder and other possible choices, Everything seemed to have been fine.

    She got her 2nd shot in October – Still was getting sick and was not able to keep anything down – It got so bad to where she was drinking the Nutritional Drinks to get the nutrition that she needed and she at times could eat Subway but sometimes not. It just was a Guessing game.

    the 3rd time for the shot was Jan. – She had been active apparently on new years eve and honestly didnt think twice about it because she was on the Depo.

    The other symptoms that she is having with the shot is the fact that about a week before she is due for her shot she starts bleeding for 1-3 days not heavily sometimes she can keep the same pad for the days and sometimes she does have to change it . and then it stops and goes away. She has NOT had her period while she was on the shot this entire time except before she gets the shot.

    NOW…..

    I had been on the depo shot and I didn’t gain weight , or have alot of the symptoms with the exception of the one every woman LOVES the one of NO PERIOD.

    Now…..

    She has Tender breasts, she has gained weight over 5 lbs in the last month, she is growing a stomach she went from approx 88 lbs because she had been sick for so long you could literally SEE her ribs and now you lift her shirt and you can look and you see a stomach that looks like pregnant.
    But the symptoms that she is having are the following:

    Tender breasts,
    Multiple Bathroom Trips
    Mood Swings
    Lower back pain
    Side pain by Ribs
    she has gained 5+ lbs (in a month)
    she is fatigue (tired, sleepy )

    Has anybody else had ANY of these symptoms especially the vomiting and upper Abdominal Pain in the stomach to where you can not keep most foods down?

    Sincerely,

    Concerned Mother

    P.s. Right now since the symptoms of Vomiting and Upper Abdominal Pains have stopped and she has been able to gain weight , her appetite has come back and then some, and then she has increased bathroom breaks. She is now thinking that she is literally pregnant off of the depo while on the Depo.

    • I also should add they were playing safe by having a condom however the condom broke 🙁 So at least they were trying to prevent it but her boyfriend/ Fiance’ said that it broke and I had asked her how many broke and she said she didn’t know she just know that it broke.

  26. Yes I have the same symptoms..I have the dmpa more than 3 yrs now..last shot given to me was on january..last january i still have spotting menstruals..but now I feel awkward like I am having pregnancy symptoms..never had any spotting at all for more than 2 months now.. I will about to take PT test ti check because my next shot will be on May ..so im slightly worried .. my tummy always feels unusual like it feels watery and always feels dizzy..so Im hoping that its still the side effects of the dmpa though I heard that it usually gives this kind of feelin on the first 3 to 4 shots only..but I was wondering because never missed any shots.. had it on time never had this strange feeling before and it only happens now plus I always feel sleepy even at work which was never happened to me in my past 3 yrs on dmpa.

  27. I’ve had my second depo shot and I’ve been on my period for almost 8 weeks now. Constant back pains, headaches and always feeling sick.
    I don’t know if this is because of the depo but it has happened ever since. I am not due my next depo until around may time.
    I am feeling very anxious with everything I do & always feeling really depressed.
    I don’t know whether I should try a different contraception or stick to this one. However my back pains and mood swings are getting extremely worse.
    Can I still get pregnant whilst on this contraception?

  28. I Been On The Depo For Couple Years! And I’m Not Due For My Next Depo Shot Until May 9th! So By I Have To Wait Until June 8 To Get My Next Depo Shot Because I Have To Wait Until I Go See My Primary Doctor!!! Lately I Been Having Really Bad Abdominal Pain! Does That Mean That The Depo Is Less Effective Since I Been On It For Quite Some Time!!!

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