IUD Birth Control Basics

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Macs_Momma21 posted a great question about IUDs this week. She wants to know much more about using this birth control option, one that is used by more than 85 million women worldwide. Here are some answers and facts:

1.What's an IUD?

IUD stands for intrauterine device which is a little T-shaped plastic device that's placed inside the uterus. It's more than 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, lasts as long as 12 years (depending on type) and is convenient. Once inserted, you don't have to think about birth control at all. It is usually recommended for women who have already had at least one child.

2. Should I get a copper or hormone-based IUD?

You have to discuss this with your OB/GYN. Both ParaGard (copper) and Mirena (hormone) work on similar premises: The major way they prevent conception is by not allowing the sperm and egg to get together.

The copper on the ParaGard affects the cervical mucus as well as the shape and function of sperm.

The Mirena continuously releases small amounts of the hormone progesterone which thickens cervical mucus and prevents sperm from getting into the uterus. It may prevent some women from ovulating (releasing eggs).

3. How do I get one?

First, you have to see your doctor for an annual exam. Second, you have to wait until you're on your period to have it inserted. (So the doctors can be certain that you are, in fact, not pregnant.) Some OBs will insert an IUD shortly after you've given birth to a child. Third, you need to be checked out again in four to six weeks.

4. Does it hurt?

It is common for women to feel minor cramping when the IUD is inserted. Many women only feel mild discomfort. The cramps go away after you rest, or if you take pain medication. Some health care providers suggest that women take pain medication before the IUD is inserted to lessen the cramps. Some health care providers inject a local anesthetic around the cervix to reduce discomfort.

5. How much does it cost?

Around $250, and most insurance plans will pay for it. If you need a cheaper option, talk to your local Planned Parenthood. They might charge you on a sliding scale.

Hope this info helps you, Macs_Momma21.

Why did you choose to get an IUD. Or not?

birth control

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AmaliaD AmaliaD

i had one, love it (mirena) had it out in Aug, to ttc and conceived in the same month! highly recommend!

MAyers MAyers

I love mine. I hoping to get it removed soon though, I really want another child. I'd recommened it to anyone that doesn't want to worry about birth control except once a month

Nic0l... Nic0lejean

I had one for 3 years after I had my daughter, loved not having to worry about it BUT I did get pregnant on it.  It was terrible.  They took the IUD out as soon as I found out but it caused severe abnormalities and I miscarried at 3 months, it was very painful and I was extremely ill.

zachs... zachsmom0328

IUDs cause abortions.  Do your research before agreeing to have this device placed in your body.

humbo... humboldtmama21

they don't cause abortion

abortion is a choice having an iud doesn't mean your choosing abortion

sjuarez sjuarez

i am thinking about getting the IUD but i am not really sure about it.  is it safer that any other method of birth control?

gggre... gggreat_mom

I am getting mine in tomorrow and my doctor said that it is very safe and he highly recommended it to me!! Just ask you doctor to go over the facts.

hinso... hinson7169

I have one and I have had it in for about 5months and its ok. my periods are messed up on it But other then that i like it.

Helen... HelenGartner

i chose to have the perigaurd iud after my son was born, i am one of those women that CANNOT use hormone based BC, they turn me into a raging lunatic! so nedless to say i love my copper!

krubalc krubalc

I tried pills for about six months after my first daughter was born, this didn't work. Tried the patch, hated the sticky residue, but it worked. Got pregnant, i think the day i took it off. Three years ago, after my second baby, i decided to go for iud paraguard.


Love the results, but i suffered from severe menstrual cramping and heavy cycles for about a year. Under physician supervision, i waited, three months, then another three, then six months he said...eventually the pain seized. I have stuck with it because it work, and no longer feel discomfort.


Insertion was very painful, i have asked others who said, they didn't feel a thing...


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