This article on Depo Provera Contraceptive Injection explains how it works, who the injection is suitable for, the risks, the side effects, and the advantages  and disadvantages of Depo Provera.

What is a Depo Provera injection?

Depo Provera is an injection of progesterone, which is administered every 12 weeks. Progesterone is a female hormone, which occurs as part of the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

Where and when can you get Depo Provera?

Depo Provera is available from your doctor, your Family Planning Centre or your midwife.

If you have just had a baby, you will be advised to wait 6 weeks before your first injection to reduce the risk of irregular bleeding.

How do Depo Provera injections work?

Depo Provera works by inhibiting, or preventing, ovulation each month. In other words the level of progesterone in the woman’s body prevents her from releasing an egg each month.

The progesterone also changes the lining of the womb, maintaining it as a thin layer, as opposed to the changing thickness that usually occurs during the menstrual cycle. The fertilised egg usually implants when the lining is thick and spongy.

If you receive your first Depo Provera injection within the first 5 days of your menstrual cycle (when your period starts) you will receive instant contraception. If it is later in your cycle then use additional contraception, such as condoms, for the first 7 days.

It is important to have an injection every 12 weeks – some women will get pregnant straight after these 12 weeks, even though for others it would take longer.

How much does Depo Provera cost?

Depo Provera contraceptive injections are available at Family Planning Centres in New Zealand at the following costs –

  • The injections are free to women under 22 years.
  • For women with a Community Service Card the cost is $5 per injection
  • For women over 22, without a Community Service Card, the cost is $22.50 per injection.

Family doctors will also offer Depo Provera injections and prices may vary. Contact your local GP to find out the cost for you.

What is the success rate of Depo Provera?

Depo Provera is very effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy. It is more than 99% effective – so if 100 women use Depo Provera for one year, less than one will fall pregnant.

Depo Provera does NOT prevent sexually transmitted infections or STIs. It is necessary to use a condom also to prevent infection.

What are the risks with Depo Provera?

Depo Provera has been linked to reduced bone density, which is increased in post menopausal women.

This risk is reduced if

  • you do not smoke
  • you take a healthy diet, rich in calcium
  • exercise regularly (e.g. walking or jogging).

What are the pros of these contraceptive injections?

  • Depo Provera is suitable for almost all women, unlike contraceptives which combine progesterone with other hormones, namely the combined pill.
  • Depo Provera reduces the risk of endometrial cancer – cancer of the lining of the womb.
  • It does not interfere with love making
  • It lasts 12 weeks
  • There is no stress of remembering to take a pill every day.
  • Periods are very light; some women get very few periods while they are receiving Depo Provera injections.
  • Some women report an improvement in pre menstrual syndrome (PMS).

What are the cons?

  • It is not suitable for women with breast cancer.
  • It is not suitable for women who may wish to get pregnant in the near future. Depo Provera does not affect your fertility, but it may continue to prevent pregnancy for approximately 6 months after your last injection (and for up to 2 years in some cases).
  • Some women experience irregular or prolonged bleeding when they first use Depo Provera. Speak to your doctor about this as this may be relieved by having your next injection sooner, or by taking oral contraceptives also for one month.

Some women experience side effects with hormonal contraception –

  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Decreased sex drive, or libido
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Headaches

Useful websites & articles

For additional information on Condoms, click here.

To compare this contraceptive with the Combined Pill or Progesterone Only / Mini Pill, visit our informative articles.

To find your local Family Planning Clinic visit- www.familyplanning.org.nz 

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Paula Skelton is a qualified NZ nurse and midwife, a midwifery & childbirth educator and the mum of three lovely girls.

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Libby Sheppard


I have just had my depo last Thursday arfternoon on the 5 of July and I have not had my period for the last ten years. Now I am 20 years old. I had sex for the first time on Sunday the 1st of July. Can I get pregnant when I have been on the depo jab for the last ten years.


Hi Libby, it possibly depends on how long it was before you had your last depo injection. Typically it takes around 6 months for your cycle to return to normal. That said, it’s plausible, and there are some small risks taking depo when you’re pregnant. So you may want to see your GP just in case. — Jarrod

Mokgadi Seshoka

hi, i stopped using this injection in june 2017, 9 mounths now i have not been to my periods. should i be worried?

Brii Kashh

Hello, I got my first injection the 3rd day of my period cycle here now is the 8th day and I am still bleeding tremendously and normally my period last up into 5days exact. Should I be worried?

Stellah Cherotich

Hae am stellah I had my injection on 15 of October last year and it ended on January 15 this year so I decided not to go for another injection.I used the ecp pill after a week from that 15 but I did not receive withdrawal bleeding after a week of taking the pill.could I be pregnant or????Advise me !!!


Hi Stellah. It would be difficult for us to tell, as everyone’s body is different. I’d suggest you try out our free online pregnancy test http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/articles/free-online-pregnancy-test/, and perhaps order a pregnancy test kit, or see your local doctor, if you’re still concerned. — Jarrod


Hi there, I am 3 weeks late of my depo and I have had continuous bleeding since I practically chose to take the depo. Is this normal? I’m sick of the bleeding, its makes me so sleepy throughout the day, and I get moody. Can you please help?

Hera-jasmine Kopa Taylor

I have been on Depp but I have stopped I’ve had 3 jabs all up I ts been 9months since I haven’t had a shot &I Wonted to know I’ve been getting my period every month since July it’s heavy the first day the next day it’s spotting and then stops please tell me is this normal???


I got my shot for the first time on Aug 3rd. The first day of my period was July 26. Had unprotected sex on the 6th and 13th. Now I’m 6 days late. Can your period stop on the first month taking Depo?


hi, i took the depo shot about a month ago and this weekend i had sex, i dont think he came inside but could i be pregnant??


I’m 24 I have been on the shot for almost a year now and every time and my husband have sex there’s this pain during and about 2-3 days after is this normal?? And I also don’t have periods anyone is this something I should be concerned about

nomfundo sithole

Hi I just wanted to ask if it is possible to get pregnant if I have sex if I had an injection a week ago please help


Sorry this isnt bout depo but i couldnt find anyghing on the jadelle. I got it in two years ago straight after i had my son, by the sexual health clinic it was free. But they never informed me entirely about it. The whole two years ive had almosy constamt bleeding, severe headaces, acne i didnt kno why untill i looked into it also really bad discarge on the couple days a month i get off my period. Ive been back to the clinic and asked about these things, they always had an excuse, and gave me pills that just… Read more »


I had my first shot a week after my period came. Does this mean my period will come sooner or later or around the same time?


Hi there, I got my first injection 19 days ago whilst i was on my menstrual cycle. for the past few days my stomach has been sore and now theres light pink blood. Is this normal? why has my period come back so soon?


Hay so for about three or 8 weeks before I got my first depo ,I had been on the pill but I always forgot to take it then in the last four weeks of the pill I started having unprotected sex right up until two days before I had the injection. Depo was the 26 or 27 of March it’s now the 2 of may and I’ve started spoting for the last few days only so lightly feeling really sick every morning and omg the headaches. Kinda want to no if it sounds like it’s in my head or is… Read more »


Hi there, i got this injection on 10th march and until now i did not have my mensus..is this normal??


So I got my first ever depo provera injection and had unprotected sex after four days and not 7 as it’s adviced,particularly because my nurse told me that I’d be safe the 3rd day after the injection. I’m now scared because on googling I see it’s 7 days and not actually 3. What are the chances that I’ve conceived?


Hey Rochelle
I’ve been on the depo shot for two weeks now (as of today )
And I had unprotected sex today….am I protected already ?

Rochelle Gribble

Hi Estefania – usually it takes 7 days for the Depo to become effective. Kind regards, Rochelle


I am a British citizen and I’m traveling to NZ on a working holiday visa for a year to two years I have been getting the depo jag for over a year now and I am not sure what I can do when in New Zealand. Is it possible for me to get this here/would it cost/do I need something to get this or prove that I get this back home. The nurses here are unsure and I go away in April!

Rochelle Gribble

Hi Sarah, It’s likely that you can just get this from a family doctor or Family Planning clinic. Contraception in New Zealand is heavily subsdised but I’m unsure whether this would apply to you. You could try contacting Family Planning http://www.familyplanning.org.nz/contact and they should be able to offer more advice. Good luck!


Hi. So i had unprotected on the night of my seventh day after the depo, could i get pregnant from this? (First time on the depo by the way).


Hi. Im now 42. Yeah right… first time on this contraception. Always used the pill but its not convenient as sometimes i take it late or forget. So i decided on the injection. Im having my period now for 19 days straight. It was ok at first. But 4 days ago it became less bleeding. But an extreme pain. I did not had sex for about a month now and know im not pregnant due to my busy lifestyle of my career. Was this the wrong decision ay my age? My kids are 22 and 14. I am surely too… Read more »


The pain in my cervix is almost worse that the backpain i had before my back opetation 15 years ago.


i came off depo in july and still dont hav period .help


please any advice

Mercedes Velasquez

So I got my depo shot a month late. I received my shot two weeks ago and i was not on my period nor have i started my period. My boyfriend and i have had unprotected sex about three times since my shot and he also ejaculated in me twice in a 24 period. Is it possible for me to get pregnant??

Sara Richardson

Will I was on depo for 9 months 3 shots and I have been off for 2 years and I had one period for that 2 years…and its was last year and I haventvhad one seen then and I want to get pregnancy in the next 6 months want can I do to help get pregnancy never went to doctor… I am disable and don’t know how to go… and I have maidcare sorry for spelling…


Hi I was on Depo after giving birth to our Son. I was only on Depo for 1year. I had no period for 4months then irregular/light periods for another 2months. I’ve had regular periods for the last 4 months but I’ve missed my period this month. We have been trying for another baby the hole time. We have taken two pregnancy tests and a blood test all have come back negative. I’m 11 days late. What’s going on ? could I still be pregnant?

Dakota Wikotu

Hi there,

I know one of the side affects is mood changes, my partner and i have noticed a dramatic change!! i seem to get in a mood very easily and struggle to get out of it. its painful for both of us. Is there a treatment/medication for stabilizing moods?

Cheers x


please help me i have been bleeding for almost 3 months now please what can i do to make it stop

Rochelle Gribble

Hi Lisa,

You need to go and see your doctor. Good luck!


Hiya I’m hoping someone can help, I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to go to my GP I’m due for my next depo in October but recently I’ve been feeling not myself, after sex I had an unreal shooting pain once in my right side sort of like a real painful stitch. Also the bottom of my belly feels strange like a pressure. I’m constantly tired. Until I get time to go to see my GP I was wondering if anyone could help??


Hi my name is Mercedes I’m 16 years old I’ve been on depo shot since Nov 15, 2013 I was supposed to get my next shot Jan 3, 2014 but I missed it.So I’m back on it now I had my last period July 28, 2014 and I got my shot on Aug 5 2014.I just had unprotected sex with my boyfriend this morning Omg I’m so scared I don’t want to get preggo I’m too young. I did some research earlier some people say the shot supposed to work within 7 days others said 5 days.I need to know… Read more »


Hi…I’m hoping someone can help me out here…I have been on depo for about 5 years and came off last month, and since then I have had an IUD put in. I am wondering when the spotting will stop or if there is any way to stop the spotting and to get a regular period? I have been spotting since coming off depo and it’s getting extremely frustrating and embarrassing between me and my partner! Hopefully someone can help!


I bled two weeks to my next shot En had sex in between, now I ve got nausea, breast tenderness am all Moody, am reluctant to see a Dr, could be pregnant

sassyboo1000 .

I just got off my Depo Shot July8th 2014 Ive been on it Sense Jan.8 2014 now im trying to conceive a baby how long do I have to wait


Wow!!!! what an experience Dr.Akim is a wonderful native doctor, he has made my life complete again by helping me cure my ED and cured my low sperm count and get erections anytime i want to.. i was living a miserable life before,i was embarrassed,disgraced by several women because i could not get an erection,i even married and my marriage was a catastrophe because i could not get my wife pregnant because of low sperm count.. but now my life is back,my wife and i are now living happily with 3kids and she is also pregrnant.. i am so happy..… Read more »


Hi well I started depo 3 months ago and just went and got my second shot on Monday..the thing is I started my peroid the Thursday before and I’m still on ot when will it stop..


I have taken depo for years I stopped to have my son and got pregnant in a month, after him I took pill and stopped to have another baby again only a month to get pregnant. I had hre in Dec 13 I got back on shot at 6 weeks and have never had a period with depo ever, but yesterday when I went to bathroom I had some pink/red spotting and stringy muscous/tissue discharge….I have been today still spotting/pink/red on and off…could I be pregnant even if I haven’t missed a shot? I have a lot of signs headache,… Read more »


hi im 2 years taking my depo..but last may 15,2014 i forgot to take my depo..until now im waiting for my menstruation.is there a possible that i’m pregnant??i have my pregnancy test 3 times and its negative..help please:(


hi, i got only 1 shot of depo on a february and decided to stop so missed my next shot on may but in may, i have been bleeding and thought i was menstruating but it was irregular till i had unprotected sex and the bleeding stopped. Now i have not seen my period a month now. Can i still be pregnant or is the depo still in my system even after 3months to prevent this pregnancy.

nancy Alfred

A couple of weeks ago I was in a dark period in my life, the man I love to bits had gone off with someone else, that was when I was told about this Esango Priest. Well he told me he could see that we would get back together that gave me hope, and he was right, because this week we have moved in with each other and are so happy. A big thank you to Esango Priest. If you are in need of an angel please get in touch with my Esango Priest via email:esangopriest@gmail.com


I received the depo shot ( for the first time ever) Monday around 1 and later that day around 5 I started to have extreme lower back pains. It has been continuous since then ( almost 30 hrs) and I’ve tried pain meds. Nothing is working and it’s almost unbearable. Could it be from the shot or maybe something else like a kidney infection? Please help I’d hate to wait this out and it gets worse.

Rochelle Gribble

Hi Mercades, Sounds like you really need to visit your GP 🙂

Glen Victoria

My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for six years now. We recently have been seeing a fertility specialist. We have done one IUI with no luck. My husband has a sperm count which goes up and down,(the doctor has recomended him taking the Proxeed supplement which he is doing going on the second month now. He also has low motility and morphology. The fertility treatments are already getting so expensive, we may have to stop real soon. The doctor has recomended that we I take injections of HMG to bring on ovalutation, followed by another IUI.… Read more »


HELP. I was due for my shot march 2014 but I wasn’t intimate at the time so I decided I would give my body a break(I got my first shot march 2013) i ended up getting it again on May 2nd, my 5th day of ovulation and had unprotected sex 3 days after. Is there a chance I could get pregnant?


Hi I’ve had my period for 4 weeks now. And I’m just wondering if that’s just my body reacting to it or something else?? This is my second time on the jab and I’ve never had my period that bad before? Pls help!?!?

Rochelle Gribble

Hi Ladylike, If you’re concerned, the best thing to do is visit your GP or local Family Planning clinic. Good luck!

Pls help

Hey I’m having these symptoms sharp pain, bloating, lower back pain, spotting, peeing alot, uncomfortable to lie on side, stomach is extremely uncomfortable, tiredness, can’t eat much and I’m on depo, have been for about 10months however I’ve had to have almost all of my shots early and I’ve googled my symptoms an it comes up with pregnancy things I’m just really hoping it’s something else..help

Pls help

Also constant headaches


I have also had the same symptoms and had my last shot in September. Did you ever did out if you were pregnant?

Pls help

Abit nausea


Hey My name is tasha , i had my injection on the 31st of october and then after 3 weeks i had sex with my bf , in total we had 3 times sx and now after 3 days im geting to bleed a bit , what does this means ?


where is the injection given on the body?

Rochelle Gribble

Hi Nicole,

It is usually given into the muscle of the buttock or upper arm.




I have had the depo-provera injection and it expired on 28 August. I have only had the first injection. I am currently trying to plan another baby. Will the injection still continue to prevent pregnancy for approximately 6months – 2years or not as I have only had the one injection?

Rochelle Gribble

Hi Danny,

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to say as everyone is different and you never know what else may affect your fertility. Good luck with trying to conceive 🙂



So on Thursday I got my shot but was late getting it. By a couple days did not have sex in those days. but on Friday I had unprotected sex. Then Saturday I have a mucusy blood coming out. And now by.Wednesday I still have it. And I have sharp pains on the bottom left of my stomach where my ovaries are where it kills to walk and cough . Could I be pregnant what is wrong??

Help :) !

I have only had one shot of the depo, my last injection was due july 12th 2013 it is now 4th of august (ino a very short time) but me an my partener are wanting a baby 🙂 We realise we may have to be patient but i started bleeding 4 days after the 12th of july (day my jab ran out) does this mean i may able to become pregnant faster as i bleed straight away? Ive read most women dont start bleeding/spotting for up too 18 months after their last jab.



Google http://news.google.com


Been on the needle for 11yrs. Spotted only when I was late getting the nredle. This time I was on time. But she injected me in the back. Next day back aches. Then abdominal pains and back pain together. Spotted for a few days. Should I be worried???


What happens if the nurse injected the depo into the back instead of the butt?

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