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The Implant

A tiny matchstick-sized rod that goes in a girl's upper arm; it's good for up to three years.


The implant (Nexplanon is the brand name) is a rod about the size of a matchstick; it’s inserted into the skin in a girl’s upper arm and protects against pregnancy for up to three years.


The implant releases hormones that keep ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens cervical mucus which helps block sperm from reaching the egg in the first place. Double whammy!


The implant is more than 99% effective. Note: When we talk about effectiveness we mean typical use numbers or what happens when couples used this method of birth control prettywell; it accounts for human errors and occasional contraceptive failure. BUT, teenagers are often not as careful as older people in using these methods, so real typical use rates for teens may be a little worse than what you see here. Keep that in mind as you're looking at the options and remember that for birth control to be effective, you have to use it consistently and correctly every single time.


  • Super effective.
  • Easy to remember (one-time insertion and you’re done).
  • Easy to use (once it's inserted, you don't have to do anything else!).
  • Always available.
  • Completely private (no one can tell if you have one or not).
  • Long-term coverage (up to three years).


  • Changes in appetite, skin (some acne may occur), and mood.
  • Headache, nausea, and sore breasts.
  • Irregular bleeding (getting the implant can make your period heavier, lighter, or cause spotting). 

Note: Not every woman experiences these drawbacks—they are just some of the ones that are commonly reported. Talk to your medical provider to learn more and keep in mind that if this method doesn’t work for you, there are LOTS more out there…but it’s best to wait at least six months to see if things get better before you decide to switch. If they don’t, or if you just can’t deal with them, talk with your medical provider about finding something that works for you.


Yep; because the implant is a hormonal contraceptive AND needs to be inserted, you’ll have to visit your medical provider to get one (but you’ll only need to go once to have it inserted and once to have it removed).

Need to find a health center? We can help!

Back to Birth Control Explorer

Teenagers sitting on a tree limb

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