The Implant (Nexplanon)

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What is the Implant?

  • The birth control implant (aka Nexplanon) is taken by someone with ovaries inside their body to prevent pregnancy.
  • It is a matchstick-sized rod inserted with a special needle under the skin of the inner non-dominant upper arm at a healthcare provider’s office.
  • It contains artificial hormones similar to the natural hormones that already exist in the body. These hormones slowly release into the body.

How does the implant work?

  • The implant stops the ovaries from releasing an egg cell each month. If there is no egg cell, pregnancy is not possible.
  • The implant makes the cervical mucus thicker so that it’s harder for sperm to get into the cervix.
  • It also makes the lining of the uterus thinner, so it is harder for a fertilized egg cell to stick to the uterus. Even if an egg cell is released and fertilized if it is unable to implant into the uterine lining, a pregnancy will not happen.
  • Once inserted, the implant is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

How long does the implant last?

  • The implant lasts for 3 years.
  • At the end of 3 years, you must have your implant removed. You can have a new one inserted for another 3 years if you want.
  • If you are having penis-vagina sex, you should consider another form of birth control such as condoms for 2 weeks after a late injection, to make sure you are protected against pregnancy during this time.

How soon does it start working?

  • When you get the implant within the first five days of your period, it begins working right away.
  • When you received the implant after the first five days of your period, it begins working after 7 days.

Where can I get the implant?

With a prescription from:

  • Your healthcare provider
  • A Teen Clinic (for youth 21 or younger).
  • A walk-in clinic
  • A community health clinic

The implant is newer in Canada. Not all healthcare providers may be offering it yet. We recommend calling ahead to your service provider to find out what types of birth control options they offer.

Does the implant protect me from STIs and HIV?

  • No, the implant is only for pregnancy prevention.
  • Use safer sex supplies such as condoms and sex dams every time you have sex to reduce the risk of STIs (sexually transmitted infections) or HIV.

Will the implant affect my period?

  • Some people have heavier periods or bleeding between periods. This is the most common side effect of the implant, especially in the first 6-12 months.
  • Some people find that after a while on the implant their period may lessen or stop.
  • If you stop using the implant your period will return.

Are there any side effects?

Yes, there is a possibility of side effects. It is common to feel pain or bruising on your arm where the implant was inserted. This should pass within a few days to a week.

Other side effects often go away after a few months and include:

  • Spotting (light bleeding or brown discharge). This is the most common side effect, especially in the first 6-12 months.
  • Period changes (getting lighter or heavier)
  • Breast discomfort
  • Increased appetite
  • Headaches

If you don’t like the way the implant makes you feel after you’ve had it for a few months, talk with your healthcare provider. Birth control is not one size fits all. You may want to try a different type.

Where can I get more information?

  • From your health care provider, community health clinic, or public health nurse. If you need a regular healthcare provider, call the Family Doctor Finder at 204-786-7111.
  • From the Facts of Life (SERC): E-mail your questions to
  • From a Teen Clinic if you are 21 or younger
  • Online at or our youth website,

Sexuality Education Resource Centre 2023

To view or download a PDF version of this information, click here: The Implant 2023

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