An IUD is a permanent birth control option. It protects against pregnancy, and it gives protection against STIs.
Many people can go back to work or school right away after their IUD appointment. However, if you’re worried about feeling dizzy or faint afterwards, arrange for someone to drive you home.
Wait a Day
Your doctor can insert an IUD in their office (or you can do it yourself with a device called the Paragard). Your healthcare provider will use the front hole of your vagina or cervix during insertion. They’ll also clean the area with an antiseptic solution before they begin. This helps reduce the chances of infection and can reduce pain. Some people have mild cramping, but that can usually be managed with over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen.
If you have a copper nonhormonal IUD, you may experience heavier bleeding and cramps during your period. This is normal and can last 3-6 months. Once your periods return to normal, you can have sex as long as you use a backup method of birth control (like condoms) for protection.
You might be able to feel the IUD strings during intercourse. However, cervical mucus tends to minimize the sensation. Your healthcare provider can trim the strings if they are too long. They can also schedule regular IUD checkups at the same time as a gynecological exam.
Some IUDs release a small amount of the progestin levonorgestrel, including Mirena, Liletta, and Kyleena. Others have copper (which acts as spermicide) coiled around them, including the Paragard IUD. It’s important to know your options and talk to your healthcare provider about which one is best for you.
Wait a Week
It’s technically possible to have sex right after IUD insertion, but that isn’t always the best idea. The insertion procedure is pretty quick and painless (although everyone reacts differently). But you’ll likely have cramping for a few days as your uterus adjusts to the new contraceptive method. You should be able to manage the discomfort with some ibuprofen.
If you’re using the Paragard (copper), Mirena, or Liletta IUD, it starts to prevent pregnancy right away. The Kyleena and Skyla IUDs take 7 days to start working, but you can use condoms as back-up contraception during that time.
A gynecologist will insert your IUD during an office visit. You’ll lie on an exam table and the doctor will place a speculum in your vagina to hold it open. They’ll then clean your cervix and vagina with an antiseptic liquid. Finally, the doctor will fold the IUD and slip it into an applicator tube that goes through your cervix into the uterus.
There is a small chance that your IUD could shift up or down and become misplaced, although this is very rare. If it does happen, your gynecologist will be able to check the strings by inserting her fingers into the front of your vagina near your cervix. They can also give you a pelvic exam to ensure that the IUD is still where it’s supposed to be.
Wait a Month
IUDs are a great option for women who want a long-term birth control method, but the little T-shaped devices can get in the way of some sex. If you have an IUD, there’s no need to skip sex, but you might have to work a little harder to prevent accidental pregnancy.
IUD placement takes only a few minutes in the doctor’s office. You lie on an exam table, and the healthcare professional will use a speculum (a metal instrument that looks like a duck beak) to hold open your vagina/front hole and clean the area with a antiseptic liquid. They’ll also line up your cervix with your uterus to make sure the IUD fits properly.
During the procedure, you might feel cramps and pain, but it’s usually manageable with over-the-counter ibuprofen. Once the procedure is done, you can resume your normal activities and start taking birth control as usual.
Your IUD may give you your first period within four to six weeks after it’s inserted. If you’re worried about the heavy bleeding or irregular spotting, call your doctor.
There’s a very small chance that your IUD will slip out of place. You might be able to tell by looking for the strings, but it’s best to call your doctor and use another form of birth control until they can do an exam to check for the IUD.
Wait a Year
When an IUD is inserted, you’ll have to wait for your period, and then use a backup method of birth control. This is because the hormones in the hormonal IUDs (Mirena, Liletta, Kyleena, and Skyla) take time to get into the uterus, which can make them less effective as pregnancy preventives.
You can also opt for the non-hormonal IUD called ParaGard, which goes into the uterus quickly and can start protecting you from pregnancy as soon as it’s in place. But you’ll still need to use a backup method for at least 24 hours after insertion because the procedure can cause cramping, spotting, and bleeding.
The procedure for inserting an IUD is quick and simple, involving a healthcare provider placing a speculum in your vagina to check the depth of your uterus. They’ll then fold the IUD into a small T shape, and insert it through your cervix/front hole with an applicator tube. Once the IUD is in the uterus, its “arms” will spring out into the T shape to hold it there.
You can feel the arms of your IUD by pushing on your cervix. It’s also normal to feel cramping right after insertion, but it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you or your mojo. In two to 10 percent of people with IUDs, the uterus pushes the device out—a process known as expulsion. You might be able to tell your IUD has moved by feeling for the strings.