Does Getting Pregnant With an IUD Hurt the Baby?


If you have an IUD, you're probably not trying to get pregnant. It is birth control after all! But with a failure rate of .2 to .8 percent, it can happen (albeit rarely). You can have an intrauterine device in your uterus and wind up with two lines on that pregnancy test -- leaving you with one big question: can getting pregnant with an IUD hurt the baby (or you)?


Well, for starters, if you've got a positive pregnancy test in hand, know this: your IUD may not be in your body at all. In fact, a far more likely possibility is that you only think your IUD is in there, but it's actually fallen out -- which can be confirmed with an ultrasound.

That said, if you do find out the IUD is still in place while you're pregnant, you and your doctor will need to address this right away.

"The risk of an IUD during pregnancy is that you are more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy -- where the embryo has implanted in the Fallopian tube instead of the uterus," says Jennifer Lincoln, MD, an OB/GYN at Bundoo. The tube can rupture and become a medical emergency -- but when diagnosed early on, an ectopic pregnancy can be treated easily with medicine or surgery to remove the embryo.

More from The Stir: Ectopic Pregnancy Risk Worth It for This Mom

If, on the other hand, the embryo implanted in the uterus and you want to continue the pregnancy, your IUD should be removed if possible -- meaning the strings are able to be seen and grasped from the cervix (a simple exam with the speculum will determine this). If the IUD can be removed, your pregnancy will likely continue without problems, although you will still face a slightly higher than average risk for miscarriage, preterm labor, and a severe infection known as sepsis.

In some cases, the IUD won't be situated close enough to the cervix to be removed -- in which case it will have to be left in, since removing it could do more damage than good. Continuing a pregnancy with an IUD in the uterus can be a risky bet, since the odds are much greater that you could face all of the above complications.

While this situation is so rare that no statistics exist to give us a sense of the odds, doctors do say it's possible to carry a healthy pregnancy to term. But you will need to be closely monitored, and your OB/GYN will likely ask that you keep an eye out for certain warnings signs including bleeding, cramping, contractions, increased vaginal discharge, or fever.

Bottom line: If you have an IUD and you think you might be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. 

Have you ever gotten pregnant while on birth control?


Image via Image Point Fr/shutterstock

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