When you get the first Depo shot, the doctors tell you to wait a week before it’s effective…

… I know that. But I just got my second shot and I’m not sure it that rule still applies. Do I have to wait a week the second time getting the shot too?

When someone starts a new hormonal method of birth control, they need to use a back up method (like condoms or practicing abstinence) for one week before that method will be effective. After that first week, the hormones will be integrated into the body and can help prevent pregnancy up to 99% when taken correctly.

Once the Depo is at full effectiveness, pregnancy will be prevented by up to 99% for up to 3 months. But in order for the Depo to consistently be effective, you need to make sure you’re getting the shot every 3 months. Each time you get the shot after the initial shot, the hormones will already be integrated into the body. This means that if you’re getting the shot on time, you won’t need to use a barrier method each week after you get a new shot. Those shots will start working right away.

It’s always a good idea to use some type of barrier method (like condoms) in addition to a hormonal method of birth control to help reduce the risk of STI transmission.