Comparing contraceptives — injectables vs the IUD

WHICH contraceptive method is right for you? We're continuing our compare and contrast of the various methods, using information from the National Family Planning Board. Here are injectable contraceptives vs the IUD.

Injectable contraceptives — 94 per cent effective

The injectable is a contraceptive method given through an injection in the arm or buttocks. The most popular injectable in Jamaica is Depo Provera. It is also the most commonly used hormonal contraceptive method among women in Jamaica.

How it works

The injection works similarly to the pill. It contains hormones that stop a female's body from releasing eggs and they also thicken the mucus in the cervix, which make it difficult for sperm to pass through.

When to use

The injection is given every three months by a medical professional. Other injectables are given either once a month or every two months.


Injectables are one of the most effective of contraceptive methods. They are 94 per cent effective, meaning that out of 100 women who use the injectable, 94 of them will not get pregnant. Injectables do not provide protection against HIV infection and other STIs.


Last for months at a time — no need to remember it every day.

It may make periods lighter and shorter. For some, no periods at all.

It does not interrupt sex.

Side effects

It may cause headaches, nausea, spotting and abdominal pain or cramping.

It may cause changes in weight, generally weight gain.

It may take up to a year for periods and fertility to return to normal after the injection is stopped.

The intrauterine device (IUD) — 99 per cent effective

The copper T is a non-hormonal long-acting reversible contraceptive. It is an intra-uterine device, which means it operates in the uterus. Copper T is a small, flexible plastic device, wrapped in copper wire, that is inserted into the uterus through the vagina by a trained health-care provider. It has two strings that come down into the vagina — this helps you and your health-care provider know it is in place. Copper T prevents pregnancies for up to 10 years.

How it works

Copper T works by preventing a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus. The copper immobilises sperm, making it difficult to find and fertilise an egg.

How long does it last?

An IUD lasts for up to 10 years.


The implant is 99 per cent effective. This means that 99 of every 100 women using the implant will not become pregnant.


One of the most effective contraceptive methods.

Lasts for up to 10 years

No hormones

No daily regimen

It does not counteract any medications.

It does not interrupt sex.

It can be used when breastfeeding.

Side effects

It may cause slight cramping after insertion.

It may cause irregular bleeding and heavier periods.

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