Contraceptive Implant (Nexplanon)

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-1304/2022
  • Departments: Maternity Services
  • Last Updated: 1 August 2022


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

It is generally recommended to wait a year before becoming pregnant again to reduce the risks for your next pregnancy. We can fit the contraceptive implant for you before you leave hospital.  This releases a progesterone hormone similar to the natural progesterone produced by the ovaries.

The implant is one of the most effective methods of contraception there is and prevents over 99% of pregnancies.  It will last for 3 years.

The implant can be safely used when breast feeding and will be effective immediately if we give it to you before you leave hospital.

Your fertility will return to normal as soon as the implant is removed.

This leaflet is a brief summary of the implant when it is used after you have had a baby. More information can be found at:

Most people’s periods will change when they use the implant.

  • Most women will get irregular periods
  • Many women get lighter, less painful periods
  • Some women’s periods stop altogether
  • Some women will have periods that last longer
  • Bleeding patterns can change whilst you are using the implant

If you do have problematic bleeding then your doctor or nurse may be able to give you some medication to help control the bleeding, and check for other causes of the bleeding.

You may get some temporary side effects when using the implant which should stop within a few months.  These may include headaches, breast tenderness, mood changes and acne.

The implant will not protect you from sexually transmitted infections.

When the implant is removed your fertility will return straight away.  This can be done at some GP surgeries or at sexual health clinics.

Most women can have the implant, but we wouldn’t recommend it if you currently have or have had in the past:

  • Arterial disease or a history of serious heart disease or stroke
  • Some liver diseases
  • Breast Cancer
  • Unexplained Vaginal Bleeding

Some medications can make the implant less effective as well as some recreational drugs.  Always tell your doctor or nurse if you are prescribed any medications and are using the implant.

The implant is not affected by any of the commonly used antibiotics or by diarrhoea or vomiting.

The relationship between breast cancer and hormonal contraception is complex and contradictory.  The currently available evidence suggests that there is no significant increase in the risk of breast cancer with use of the implant, however, a link cannot be completely excluded.

Implant Insertion

The implant is about the size of a matchstick, and it is placed in the inner area of your upper arm.  You will be given some local anaesthetic to numb the area and then it takes just a couple of minutes to put the implant in.  It is similar to having an injection and you won’t need any stitches.

You will be shown how to feel the implant with your fingers.  A rare complication of implant insertion is that it can move so that it isn’t felt.  If this is the case, please contact your GP or sexual health clinic.

The area might be tender, slightly bruised or swollen for a day or two.  You’ll be given a dressing to help.  Keep this dressing on for a few days and try not to knock the area.

Very rarely you may get an infection where the implant is inserted.

Don’t worry about knocking the area once it has healed; it shouldn’t break or be able to move around in your arm.

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

Your newborn baby’s NHS number

An NHS number is allocated to everyone whose birth is registered with a Registrar of Births and Deaths in England and Wales. You already have an NHS number and your baby will be assigned an NHS number soon after birth. Your NHS number is unique to you and provides a reliable means of linking you to the medical and administrative information we hold about you. NHS numbers are allocated on a random basis and, in themselves, provide no information about the people to whom they relate.

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