Ebony Cole and her husband decided they were done having babies for a while — their home is active and happy with their 5-year-old son and 7-month-old daughter. She decided on a birth control implant to keep her baby-free for the next several years, and after it was inserted, she thought they were good to go.
Fast-forward a few months later, when an ER visit revealed she was five weeks pregnant. Her Nexplanon implant had failed, and she was understandably shocked and upset. After she found out she was expecting again, they tried to find the implant via ultrasound and couldn't locate it. A blood test showed there was no progestin circulating through her body, and they told her it simply wasn't there.
However, she doesn't necessarily agree with that, because after it was put into her arm, the care provider instructed her to feel around to see if it was in there. She was able to confirm that it was, and now she's worried that it's somewhere in her body and may harm her unborn child.
The good news is that if the device were in there, the hormone it emits would be circulating throughout her body. Since her blood test shows that the hormone isn't present, her fetus should be fine. The bad news, though, is that she thought she was protected from pregnancy, and she wasn't.
Nexplanon has many guidelines in place that care providers must follow to ensure that the implant is placed correctly:
"Immediately after the NEXPLANON implant has been placed, you and your health care provider should check that the implant is in your arm by feeling for it," the literature reads. "If you and your health care provider cannot feel the NEXPLANON implant, use a non-hormonal birth control method (such as condoms) until your health care provider confirms that the implant is in place. You may need special tests to check that the implant is in place or to help find the implant when it is time to take it out."
No birth control method is completely, 100 percent effective — except for the one where you don't have sex at all. While it's frightening that this type of birth control can and does fail, it's definitely not a normal or common experience. If you've gotten a birth control implant and are concerned that it may not be working, ask your care provider. They can help reassure you that it's in place and doing its job, and on the small chance it isn't, they'll take care of you.
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