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Norplant Implants 

The Norplant (a registered trademark of The Population Council for levonorgestrel subdermal implants) implant system is a set of six small plastic capsules. The capsules are placed under the skin of a woman’s upper arm.


Norplant capsules contain aprogestin, similar to natural hormone that a woman’s body makes. It is released very slowly from all six capsules. Thus the capsules supply a steady, very low dose. Norplant implants contain no estrogen.

A set of Norplant capsules can prevent pregnancy for at least five years. It may prove to be effective longer.

How do they work?

Norplant capsules thicken cervical mucus making it difficult for sperm to pass through. It stops ovulation (release of eggs from ovaries) in about half of the menstrual cycles after the first year of use.

How effective are they?

They are very effective and have a rate of 0.1 pregnancies per 100 women in the first year of use (1 in every 1000). Over 5 years, 1.6 pregnancies per 100 women.

Advantages and Disadvantages: 


1.Norplant capsules are very effective even in heavier women.
2.It provides long term pregnancy protection, but is reversible. 
3.A single decision can give very effective contraception up to five years. 
4.It gives increased sexual enjoyment, as there is no need to worry about pregnancy. 
5. Fertility returns almost immediately after the capsules are removed.
6. It does not harm the quality and quantity of the breast milk and can be used by nursing mothers starting six weeks after childbirth.
7. It has no estrogen side effects.


1.Common side effects (not signs of sickness) --- Changes in menstrual bleeding is normal, including:
---Light spotting or bleeding between monthly periods (common),
--- Prolonged bleeding (uncommon, and often decrease after first few months), or
--- Ammenorrhea. (Some women see Ammenorrhea as an advantage.)
Some women have:
--- Headaches,
--- Enlargement of ovaries or enlargement of ovarian cysts,
--- Dizziness,
--- Breast tenderness and/or discharge,
--- Nervousness,
--- Nausea,
--- Acne or skin rash,
--- Change in appetite,
--- Weight gain (though a few women lose weight),
--- Hair loss or more hair growth on the face.
Most women do not have any of these side effects, and most side effects go away without treatment within the first year. 
2.The woman cannot start or stop use on her own. Capsules must be inserted and removed in by a specially trained practitioner. 
3.Discomfort for several hours to one day after insertion for some women has been noticed. This may even continue for several days for a few women. Removal is sometimes painful and often more difficult than insertion. 
4.These capsules do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. 

When to start? 

1.For women having menstrual cycles, any time it is certain that she is not pregnant. 
2.Breast feeding women may start as early as six weeks after birth. 
3.A women not breast feeding after childbirth may start immediately or at any time in the first six weeks after childbirth. She need not wait for her menstrual period to return. 
4.A woman who has had a miscarriage or abortion may start immediately or in the first seven days after either first or second trimester miscarriage or abortion. 
5.It can be started immediately after any other method is stopped. 

Important points for the user to remember. 

1.Changes in vaginal bleeding are normal. The are not a sign of danger. 
2.You should have the implants removed 5 years after the insertion. 
3.You can choose to remove the capsules any time you want, for any reason. 
4.You are advised to consult a doctor at once if your arm is sore for more than a few days, or if infection occurs (pain, heat and redness), capsules come out, severe headaches start or become worse after you begin using implants, or you think you might be pregnant, have unusually heavy vaginal bleeding or severe pain or tenderness in the lower belly, your skin or eyes become unusually yellow or you feel faint. 

Norplant implants do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV/AIDS. If you think you might get an STD, use condoms regularly along with implants.


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