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Birth Control/Unprotected Sex With Implanon

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QUESTION: Hello.  My name is Kyel.  My girlfriend and I are both 18, and we are planning on having our first time in the near future.  She has been on birth control pills for about 12 days (not a lot, I know), and when she was at the clinic talking with people there, they mentioned Implanon.  She is planning to get it either after three months (she has three months worth of pills), or after this month if we decide on that.  My question is: Is it safe (how safe) to have sex without a condom if she has the Implanon?  Also, how long does it usually take for the Implanon to take full effect?  As in, after how long would it be safe (if it is at all) to start having sex without the condom?  I understand that there will be no STI protection, but she has been tested and is clean, and neither of us have had sex before.  Any information you can give me would be appreciated.  Thank you very much for your time.

ANSWER: Hello Kyel,
It sounds like you and your girlfriend are being very responsible, and I congratulate you on that.  The pill is effective after being on it for 7 days, as long as no pills are missed.  As long as she has the Implanon inserted while she's on the pill or within 7 days of stopping the pill, the Implanon is effective immediately.  Implanon is one of the most effective methods of birth control.  Having it inserted around the time of a period from the birth control pill probably also makes it less likely that she would have irregular bleeding, which is one of the fairly common side effects of Implanon.  I hope that's helpful

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the compliment/congratulation, and thank you for the information.  I appreciate it.  The person she talked to at the clinic said to wait TWO weeks from starting the pill to have sex, and I've also read that it's best to be on it for three MONTHS before having sex "so it sets into your system" and "so the body gets used to it", and various reasons like that.  I didn't know which to believe.

It's nice to know that the Implanon is effective immediately after implantation.  Also, how safe is it to have unprotected sex, but WITH the Implanon?  She got a bunch a condoms from the clinic as well, and I've tried a few on to practice and see how they felt, but they are very uncomfortable and I don't feel a whole lot.  And, WE feel it's somewhat more 'intimate' without a condom.  Either way, we would like to not have to use them, if possible.

When you said "Having it inserted around the time of a period from the birth control pill...", what did you mean?  I don't understand the wording.  And will irregular bleeding ultimately affect when her period takes place during the month, or will it have negative side effects or...?  Thank you very much for your help and information.  We both greatly appreciate it.

Answer
As far as being on the pill for 3 months so it " sets into your system", that has no scientific basis.  Planned Parenthood has a good web site http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control-4211.htm that can answer most of your questions.  I would believe what they say.

As far as whether you need condoms, we generally advise condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.  Since neither of you have had sex before, neither of you have an STD, and you don't need condoms.  The Implanon is so effective for birth control that having more protection wouldn't really make any difference.

If she gets the Implanon inserted during the first 5 days of a period, she is protected immediately.

Please go to the Planned Parenthood web site and read about the disadvantages to Implanon.

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Norman Solberg

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I am an OB-GYN physician. I can answer almost any question related to women's health.

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