Depo-Provera (Injection)

Depo-Provera works sim­i­lar­ly to the Pill. It’s an injec­tion of a hor­mone called prog­estin that you receive once every three months (when you get your injec­tion, you’ll make an appoint­ment for your next one). Depo is a good choice if you don’t have a lot of rou­tine in your life or if you’re just not a very orga­nized or struc­tured per­son (it can be easy to for­get to take the Pill every day). You get the injec­tion at a health care provider’s office or clinic.

How to use it

The first injec­tion is giv­en while you’re on your peri­od and it starts pre­vent­ing preg­nan­cy in 24 hours. In 11 to 13 weeks you’ll have your next injection.

How it works

The hor­mones in the Depo shot pre­vent preg­nan­cy by doing three things: 1) mak­ing cer­vi­cal mucus thick­er to stop sperm from enter­ing the uterus, 2) stop­ping the ovaries from pro­duc­ing eggs (ovu­la­tion), and 3) thin­ning the wall of the uterus so that a fer­til­ized egg won’t be able to implant.


99% effec­tive with prop­er use. There’s less chance to have an unplanned preg­nan­cy than with the Pill or the Patch.


You only have to get four injec­tions a year, so you only have to think about con­tra­cep­tion four times a year. Also, your peri­od will be very light, or it may stop completely.


Depo doesn’t pro­tect against HIV or STIs. It can lead to bone den­si­ty loss, which can result in ear­ly osteo­poro­sis (weak­en­ing of your bones). If you’re a teenag­er, this is impor­tant because your bones are still devel­op­ing, but you can off­set this by tak­ing cal­ci­um and vit­a­min D pills or increas­ing your intake of dairy prod­ucts. Pos­si­ble side effects include irreg­u­lar spot­ting and vagi­nal bleed­ing, weight gain, headaches, hair growth or hair loss, and changes in mood. Side effects can con­tin­ue for three months fol­low­ing the first injec­tion. Although Depo is reversible, it usu­al­ly takes up to six months after stop­ping injec­tions to have a peri­od, and can take up to two years. Some peo­ple will start ovu­lat­ing again before their peri­od returns, so it means you could get preg­nant after stop­ping Depo (even if it’s before your peri­ods start up again).

Cost and coverage

The Depo shot is cov­ered by most pri­vate health insur­ance plans, but you should know that if you use your parent’s drug plan, they may be able to see that infor­ma­tion. Depo is also cov­ered by:

  • EIA/​social assistance
  • FNI­HB (First Nations sta­tus) – You can call 2049838886 to make sure no one else can see your prescriptions.
  • Man­i­to­ba Phar­ma­care – If you have a Man­i­to­ba Health card and have no oth­er cov­er­age, there’s a good chance you can apply for Phar­ma­care to cov­er a good por­tion of your drug costs. Click here for more information.

If you don’t have any cov­er­age, you may be able to get Depo for free from your health care provider’s office or clin­ic, or you can call Women’s Health Clin­ic (2049471517) for infor­ma­tion on their free/low-cost birth con­trol pro­gram. Oth­er­wise, the cost to just pur­chase the Depo shot is gen­er­al­ly about $33/​shot (equal to about $11-$14/month) in Winnipeg.*

* This infor­ma­tion is up-to-date as of 2019.