What is it?
Copper IUDs are T-shaped plastic devices wrapped in copper. They are less than an inch and a half wide and long. A doctor inserts the IUD into your uterus through the cervix. This takes just a few minutes.
Copper IUDs can prevent pregnancy for 10 to 12 years.
How well does it prevent pregnancy?
A very effective form of birth control — one of the lowest pregnancy rates of all birth control methods.
Less than 1 out of 100 women using ParaGard get pregnant in a year of use.
WHAT ARE SOME PRODUCT NAMES?
ParaGard is the only copper IUD sold in the United States.
- Very effective birth control.
- Long-lasting — 10 to 12 years.
- Safe if you can’t use birth control with estrogen because you:
- Are a smoker over 35
- Have had serious side effects from estrogen
- Have high blood pressure
- May be safe for some — but not all — women who:
- Have an increased risk of blood clots or stroke
- Have coronary artery disease
- Have lupus
- Safe if you are breastfeeding.
- Sex can be spontaneous.
- Mostly private. (Some partners do feel the IUD strings inside the vagina.)
- Reversible. Can be removed by a doctor at any time if you want to try to get pregnant. Rapid return of fertility after IUD is removed.
- Some women have heavier or longer periods or more cramping with their periods.
- No-go with some health issues:
- Active pelvic inflammatory disease
- Unexplained heavy vaginal bleeding
- Allergy to copper
- If you or your partner has a sexually transmitted infection (STI), you’ll need to delay getting an IUD until treatment is complete.
Possible problems include:
- Some spotting and cramping right after IUD insertion. Tell your doctor if pain is severe or doesn’t go away.
- A small risk that your uterus may expel a copper IUD. This happens to about 6 in 100 women in the first year and about 11 in 100 women within 5 years. If it happens, you could get pregnant.
- A small risk of infection after insertion of an IUD.
- Very rarely, insertion of an IUD punctures the uterus. This may require surgery.