The contraceptive implant is a small flexible tube about 40mm long that's inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It's inserted by a healthcare professional and lasts for three years. The implant is a long-acting reversible method of contraception (LARC).

What are the benefits of using an implant?

  • It's more than 99 per cent effective when used correctly.
  • It does not interrupt sex.
  • It is safe to use while breastfeeding.
  • It may reduce heavy or painful periods after the first year of use.
  • After insertion, you should be able to carry out normal activities.
  • It's useful for women who know they don't want to get pregnant for a while.
  • Once in place, you don't have to think about contraception for three years. 
  • It can be useful for women who can't use contraception that contains oestrogen. 
  • It's useful for women who find it difficult to take a pill at the same time every day. 
  • If you have side effects, it can be taken out.

Things to consider

  • The implant does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
  • When it's first put in, you may feel some bruising, tenderness or swelling around the implant.
  • In the first year after having it fitted, your periods may become irregular, lighter, heavier or longer.
  • A common side effect of the implant is that your periods stop.
  • Some medications can make it less effective.

Where can I get more information?

The Family Planning Association provides a range of helpful information.

My contraception tool

The FPA has developed an interactive tool that can help you find out which methods of contraception may be best for you.

The tool asks questions about your health, lifestyle and contraceptive preferences. All your answers are completely confidential and can't be linked back to you. The tool is available on their website.

Find out more