seven things you may not know about the birth control implant

Happy 12th anniversary to Nexplanon! What is Nexplanon? It’s a birth control implant that is inserted into the upper arm, lasts for up to three years, and is over 99% effective. Nexplanon used to be called Implanon and was approved by the FDA on July 18, 2006. It’s the first, and so far the only, birth control implant. While this method has been used in the US since 2006, there’s still a lot of features about the implant that you might not know.

  1. The implant (the generic word for Nexplanon) is super effective! More than 99% of people who use the implant do not get pregnant. That’s better than the patch, pill, or the ring.
  2. The implant is a small plastic rod, the size of a matchstick, which is inserted into your arm. Way back in the day (the 1990s), the birth control implant had six rodsto insert in a patient’s arm! Good thing times have changed, and the method has been improved. 
  3. A clinician numbs your arm before putting the implant in or taking it out. It usually takes just a few minutes. 
  4. The implant works by sending hormones into your body that prevent pregnancy by stopping the body from ovulating, thinning the lining of the uterus, and changing the mucus, or fluid, on the cervix.
  5. Just like IUDs, the implant is very private and low-maintenance. Once it heals, no one can tell that you have it unless they feel your arm, and you are protected from pregnancy for up to three years! You can also have it removed at any time.
  6. REMEMBER: The implant does not protect you from STDs. Condoms are the only birth control method that can do that! Find out how you can get free condoms here.
  7. In California teens can get the implant (and other birth control) covered for free. Find a clinic near you here!

It’s always a good time to own your own health. Learn more about Nexplanon and all of the other birth control options at Teen Source!


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This blog was reposted from, a project of Essential Access Health. is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.

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