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Birth Control - Intra-Uterine Devices (IUD)

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 02:08pm
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These are small plastic devices that are inserted into the uterus and may or may not contain copper or a hormone. They work by creating a foreign body reaction in the lining of the uterus which prevents the fertilized egg from implanting. IUDs that contain hormones also cause changes in the thickness of the fluid in the cervix which hinders the sperm's ability to enter the uterus.
IUDs are considered to be 99% effective.


  • Moms can have them left in for 5-10 years depending on the type that is used.
  • Do not interfere with milk supply, as estrogen can, if Mom is breastfeeding.
  • Does not interrupt sex as it is already inserted.


  • Does not protect Mom against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Can contribute to infections of the genital tract.
  • Requires insertion and placement by Mom's health care provider.
  • Mom needs to check if she can feel the strings of the IUD which protrude into the vagina. Some Moms feel uncomfortable inserting their fingers into the vagina and may not be comfortable with this method of birth control.
  • IUD can be expelled spontaneously.
  • May cause heavier menstrual periods and cramping.
  • Low risk of perforation of the uterine wall. Perforation is a rare event and may happen at any time. There is less risk if the health care provider is experienced in inserting IUDs.
  • Over time the IUD can become imbedded into the lining of the uterus. This can be painful and may require that the IUD be surgically removed.
  • Moms who develop a sexually transmitted disease while they are using an IUD may be at greater risk of having problems getting pregnant in the future.

Not Recommended:

IUDs are not recommended if Mom has experienced any of the following:

  • Current or recent repeated pelvic infections
  • A recent abnormal PAP test
  • Known or suspected pregnancy
  • Severe infections of the cervix
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Cancer in the genital tract
  • Diabetes
  • Paralysis
  • Allergies to Copper or other materials used in the IUD
  • Anemia or history of severe menstrual cramping
  • Wilson's disease
  • Sensitivities to the hormones contained in the IUD

 There are other methods of birth control. Learn More >>

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