Self-Inject contraceptive
  • DMPA-SC offers safe and very effective 3-months protection from pregnancy.
  • It can easily be used after training and assessment from a qualified local healthcare provider.
  • You can save time and money by not having to come back to a provider to receive a shot.
  • It will not affect your future fertility, though it may take some months for your fertility to come back after using it – giving you and your partner more time to prepare for your pregnancy!
  • Using it yourself doesn’t mean you can’t seek help from a provider – you can always reach out with questions or if you need help.
Will self-injection give me side effects and how can I manage them?
  • Side effects are different for everyone.
  • Some women experience lighter or heavier bleeding Spotting between periods or periods may become irregular, or monthly bleeding may eventually stop altogether - this is safe and normal but can be alarming at first!
  • Some women experience weight gain, headaches, acne, decreased sex drive or mood swings. These side effects are normal, usually just temporary, and can be managed.

If you experience any side-effects, you can contact your provider who can help you manage them. Remember – any side effects are expected and usually temporary!

However, if you don’t like the way self-injection makes you feel, or if you are worried about a side effect you are experiencing, you can always talk to a provider about changing to another method.

Are there any positive side effects of self-injection?

The hormones in self-injection can help with painful or heavy periods. It may also ease cramps and premenstrual syndrome, and it will usually make your bleeding lighter.

Many women who self-inject stop getting their period at all while they’re using it. Don’t worry - it’s safe and normal to not get your period while you’re using this method (as long as you are taking the injection on time). Plus you don’t have to worry about menstrual pads during this time!

The shot may also help protect you from certain health conditions, like cancer of the uterus and iron deficiency (anemia).

How effective is self-injection as a contraceptive method? Will it interfere with sex?

When used perfectly, self-injection effectiveness against pregnancy is more than 99%, meaning less than 1 out of every 100 people who use it will get pregnant each year.

But when it comes to real life, the shot is about 94% effective, because sometimes people forget to do their shots on time. So, in reality, about 6 out of every 100 shot users will get pregnant each year.

The better you are about doing your shot on time, the better it will work. But there’s a tiny chance that you could still get pregnant, even if you always get the shot on time. This is true of every contraceptive method.

Since you inject it once every three months, it does not interfere with sex. But remember: self-injection does not protect against HIV or STIs, so you should still use a condom.

Will self-injection affect my fertility in the future?

It only takes 15 weeks after your last injection for pregnancy protection to wear off. How soon you get pregnant after you stop self-injection is different for everyone. For some people it can take up to 10 months for their ability to get pregnant to return to normal and for others it can happen much sooner.

Anything within this range is completely normal. Keep this in mind when planning your family – more time before pregnancy may help give you and your partner more time to prepare!!

Your first period after stopping DMPA-SC can take several months to return. It can also take time for your period to go back to the way it was before you started using self-injection. Everyone’s body is different, and reacts to stopping self-injection differently. It is possible to get pregnant before your period returns, so use another method of birth control if you don’t want to get pregnant after stopping self-injection.

Can I learn to Self-inject properly?

Self-inject contraceptive uses a "subcutaneous" device, which means it has a shorter and smaller needle that does not inject as deeply. It was created with the idea that women themselves would be able to inject it. DMPA-SC is being self-injected by women in more than 50 countries, including Uganda/Nigeria, and it is clear that women of all types can safely and effectively learn to self-inject properly.

Your provider can guide you through the steps to correctly self-inject. You can practice injecting and going through the steps before completing your first self-injection. There are many materials you can take home to remind yourself how to self-inject later.

Can really inject myself at home or wherever I want? How would I store and get rid of the injections?

Yes, you can self-inject anywhere you feel comfortable. You need to store the devices in a safe place away from children or animals and extreme heat or cold.

When you have used a device, you would store it in a jar or container with a lid, and give them back to a provider the next time you are there.

If keeping the used devices at home is a problem because of privacy, then you can talk to a provider about other possible ways to dispose the used devices.

Is it safe to self-inject while breastfeeding?

Yes, it’s safe to self-inject while you’re breastfeeding.

It shouldn’t have any effect on how much milk you produce, and it won’t hurt your baby. In fact, self-injection is a great method to use if you’re breastfeeding and you don’t want to get pregnant.

What if I forget and I’m late for my next self-injection?

It depends on how late you are. You can do your next self-injection as early as 10 weeks or as late as 16 weeks after your last injection.

But, if you self-inject more than 16 weeks after your last injection, you are likely not protected from pregnancy, and you’ll need to use backup contraception, like a condom, for the first week after you self-inject again.

Will the hormones in the self-injection method have any negative effects fo me later on, even if I stop using it?

The hormones in self-injection and other types of contraception have been around for decades, and millions of people have used them safely.

Self-injection side effects aren’t dangerous, though there are some possible risks with using self-injection, like with any medicine. Your provider will talk to you about these, and if you have any concerns later, you can always return to your provider.

Who can use self inject?

Any woman of reproductive age who desires to prevent pregnancy can use Self Inject including a woman who:

Is breastfeeding a baby who is at least 6 weeks old.

Has or has not had children.

Cannot or does not want to use other methods (i.e., those containing estrogen).

Has a sexually transmitted infection including HIV (DMPA may be used, but male or female condoms must also be used if a woman or her partner are at risk) Is taking medicines, including ARVs to treat AIDS.

Are there times where Self-inject May not be suitable for me?

Self-inject contraception may not be suitable for you if:

- You think you might be pregnant.

- You want to be pregnant 12 months from now.

- You don’t want your bleeding to change.

- You are breastfeeding a baby younger than 6 weeks old.

- You have unexplained bleeding, a cardiovascular or liver condition, breast cancer, or osteoporosis: these conditions need a provider’s advice first.

What are some of the Cons of Self-inject?

Self-Inject contraception does not protect you from STIs like HIV.

Your return to fertility may take six months to a year, but in time you will be able to become pregnant as before.

Bleeding changes are common but not harmful.

Many women experience some side effects.