There is only one injectable contraception, also known as the jab available in Ireland, called Depo-Provera. This is an injection that releases the hormone progestogen into your body. It can be used by women who cannot use other methods of hormonal contraception. It works like the pill but lasts for between 8 -12 weeks and it is over 99% effective.

How Is It Used?

The hormone is injected into a muscle, usually during the first 5 days of a period, and is released very slowly into the body. Further injections are needed every 12 weeks. Discuss with your doctor the best time to have your first injection. It works by stopping the body releasing an egg each month. If you have just had a baby, it is believed that delaying the injection for 6 weeks often makes irregular bleeding less likely. It does not affect your milk supply.


  • Particularly useful for those who find it hard to remember to take a pill every day
  • May reduce heavy periods.
  • Can make the period pain or pre-menstrual tension less likely
  • The injection is not affected by vomiting or diarrhoea, or certain medication
  • Injections offer some protection against womb cancer


  • Injections don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections
  • Injections must be given by a doctor or a nurse
  • You have to remember to have the injections on time every 3 months
  • Your periods can become irregular or stop or might have bleeding between periods
  • Fertility and periods can be slow to return when you stop getting the injections
  • Can lead to some weight gain.
  • Can cause slight thinning of the bones by reducing bone mineral density (usually recovers once the injections stop).

Who can use the injection?

The contraceptive injection is suitable for most women. A doctor or nurse will ask about your own and your immediate family’s medical history, weigh you and take your blood pressure, just to check if it will be suitable for you.

Women who are under 18 years old may be able to use the contraceptive injection, but only after careful examination by a doctor because of its effect on bone density.