3. THE INJECTION
What: The contraceptive injection delivers progesterone, which thickens cervical mucus thereby stopping sperm reaching an egg. It also thins the womb lining (making it unable to support a fertilised egg) and, in some women, prevents the release of an egg entirely. The injection is delivered into your buttocks muscle or upper arm. The most popular brand in SA is Depo-Provera, which lasts three months.
Need to know: The biggest worry regarding the injection is the return-to-fertility period. Some women also complain about irregular, longer periods, while for others menstruation may be absent completely.
Cost: Free in government clinics. Depo-Provera from R28 at pharmacies, and between R90 and R250 at Marie Stopes.
• Medium-term solution
• Good for women who can’t use oestrogen contraception
• Not affected by other medication
• Possibility of cessation of menstruation (which some women prefer)
• Studies show it can help in the preventionof cervical cancer
• Common side effects can include the usual culprits experienced with the pill: weight gain, headaches, mood swings and breast tenderness
• Periods can become irregular and longer
• Can delay fertility up to a year after discontinuation, so it’s not ideal for women who would like to conceive soon after going off their contraception