Real Talk

I Got a Contraceptive Implant and Here’s What Happened

Getting a contraceptive implant was my way of taking care of myself so that I can be the best wife and mother to my husband and daughter.

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Cambria in 2021, my husband and I were so elated. We even cried tears of joy! This was especially after going through a heartbreaking early miscarriage in 2020. Naturally, my mindset during the whole pregnancy was a happy and positive one. I documented my growing baby bump every week and was so thrilled to become a mother. My birthing journey was the easiest and smoothest, too. I experienced zero pain and discomfort during my labor. And it took just five pushes (or less) for Cambria to come out.

contraceptive implant

However, things took a turn during my postpartum period. No amount of books or classes with my doula could prepare me for the tidal wave of rage, resentment, and anxiety that hit me. I even had to start seeing a therapist for the first time in my life to help me process all the adjustments that were happening and manage the triggers causing me unease.

The experience traumatized me so much that my husband and I are slowly embracing the idea that Cambria might be an only child. And so last January 2023, I decided to consult with my OB-Gyn, Dr. Kristine Katimbang, and got a contraceptive implant.

With Dra. Kristine Katimbang who inserted my contraceptive implant
With Dr. Kristine Katimbang and Cambria

What is a contraceptive implant?

Contraceptive implants are a long-term birth control method that is available in the Philippines. Sometimes, they’re called long-acting reversible contraception or LARC. It’s basically a flexible plastic rod about the size of a matchstick or toothpick that is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. The implant then releases a low, steady dose of the hormone progestin.

Progestin prevents pregnancy by pausing ovulation. And it thickens the mucus of the cervix. This makes it hard for sperm to reach an egg. In addition, progestin thins the lining of the uterus. So if sperm does reach an egg, it’s harder for the fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

How is it inserted?

Prior to getting the implant, I scheduled an online consultation with Dr. Katimbang to discuss my options. We both felt that a contraceptive implant was the best choice for me. And so she elaborated on how it’s inserted as well as the possible effects.

I then scheduled the insertion on the second day of my period. This was to ensure that I wasn’t pregnant. The particular brand I got was IMPLANON, which is good for three years. It has to be removed by the end of the third year and may be replaced with a new one at the time of removal to continue contraceptive protection.

Contraceptive implant
After getting a contraceptive implant

It was a quick procedure that only lasted for a few minutes and Dr. Katimbang just did it in her clinic in The Medical City Ortigas. She first injected topical anesthesia into my left upper arm. Then she inserted the contraceptive implant and placed a waterproof bandaid and an additional bandage to protect it. I wasn’t allowed to wet the area for the next 24 hours. In the next two weeks, I experienced bruising, which was normal and expected. But there was no pain or discomfort.

contraceptive implant
How my arm looked like after removing the bandage
Contraceptive implant effect
After removing the waterproof bandaids
Contraceptive implant bruising
When the bruising started the next day

Is it safe?

Before getting a contraceptive implant, it’s best to consult with your doctor first — especially if you have a medical condition. He or she might suggest another birth control method if you have:

  • Allergies to any parts of the implant
  • A history of serious blood clots, heart attack, or stroke
  • Liver tumors or disease
  • A history of breast cancer, or if you might have breast cancer
  • Bleeding outside of your typical period that hasn’t been checked

What are the effects?

It’s been four months since I got the implant and I’ve only gotten my period twice. Prior to that, I would get my period regularly. However, unlike my usual flow, my last two cycles were so light that I only wore menstrual briefs or panty liners. Dr. Katimbang even mentioned that for some patients, their period stops completely. I’m hoping to be a part of this statistic because not getting your period is so convenient!

Since the implant, I’ve been in a better mood as well. And I think it’s because I no longer experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Knowing that I won’t get pregnant for the next three years makes me feel at ease, too. Plus, if ever my husband and I change our minds and we’d like to try for another child, I can easily have it removed and my cycle will just go back to normal.

Moms have this option!

Not a lot of moms know that they do have this contraceptive option here in the Philippines. And for those who would like more information about it, I highly recommend checking with your doctor! As for me, I’m proud that I made this decision for myself. In doing so, I feel like I’m in a better headspace and am able to be a better wife to my husband and mother to my daughter.

Read similar stories on Modern Parenting:

4 Celebrities Who Grew Up Being an Only Child

From the Eyes of an Only Child: What It’s Like to Have No Siblings

Why This Family Decided to Only Have One Child

Order your Modern Parenting magazine's print copy:
Download this month's Modern Parenting magazine digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]