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Natalia and her husband, Eric. Photo courtesy of Natalia.

As a newlywed, Natalia wanted to rethink her options for birth control. Knowing that she and her husband didn’t plan to start a family right away, she was looking for a method that would last a long time—through whatever changes life might throw their way.

She ultimately chose the birth control implant, a small plastic rod that is placed in the arm and releases the hormone progestin into the body to prevent pregnancy. Here, Natalia tells us why the implant has been a good fit at this stage in her life.

ACOG: What mattered to you when choosing birth control?

Natalia: I was 27 when I first got the implant. Eric and I had just gotten married the year before, in 2016, and we were not planning on having kids yet. I wanted something that would work for the next 3 to 5 years.

I researched many options, including the birth control patch and the vaginal ring. I was drawn to the intrauterine device (IUD) and the implant because they last a long time and are so effective. But IUDs can last for up to 10 years. That was longer than I felt I needed—and to be honest, I was a little chicken about it. I just didn’t like the idea of it inside my uterus.

After talking with my ob-gyn, I ended up choosing the implant. It would last for several years, and they said it was easy to remove if I didn’t like it. [Implants are removed by numbing the arm and making a small incision.]

For me, the implant meant security. Once I have it, my birth control is taken care of. I also liked that the implant was covered by my insurance. I only had a small co-pay for the procedure. I was on the pill before and I worried it might not be covered, month to month, if I lost my job or health care coverage.

ACOG: What was it like to have the implant inserted?

Natalia: My ob-gyn ordered the implant for me and I scheduled an appointment for the procedure. In the exam room, I laid down on the table and looked away!

I felt a pinch as they made the tiny incision in my upper right arm and slipped it in. Right away they wrapped my arm with gauze and tape, which I had to leave on for a day. There was a little bit of swelling and bruising, too. But overall it was very quick and easy—almost like getting a vaccine shot, but with more pressure behind it.

You can’t see the implant, but I can feel it when I touch my skin. I like knowing that it’s always there.

ACOG: Is there anything you don’t like about the implant?

Natalia: My menstrual cycle was like clockwork on the pill, and the implant has made it very irregular. My doctor said this is a common side effect, and it has nothing to do with its effectiveness. Unpredictable periods are annoying, but it has gotten better over time and I have learned to live with it. The implant still works well for me.

ACOG: Would you get it again?

Natalia: Yes, I’ve been happy with the implant, and I have been considering getting another one when the time comes. Whether to have a baby is a year-by-year decision for us, so it will depend on what we are thinking at that time. But it’s so hard to plan anything right now with the pandemic. We want to see how our lives take shape in the next year or two, but we also don’t want to wait too long.

At least I know the implant is a safe and easy birth control option, and that it works for me.

Every story matters. Share yours.

If you have a birth control story to share—or a story about any aspect of women’s health—submit your story to ACOG.


Published: May 2021

Last reviewed: May 2021

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