Queens Women's Health Center | Birth Control Methods (2023)

The IUD (intrauterine contraceptive device)

  • What is "the IUD"?
  • How does the copper IUD work?
  • How effective is the copper IUD?
  • Am I a good candidate for the copper IUD?
  • Are there any reasons why I shouldn't use the copper IUD?
  • What are the common side effects of the copper IUD?
  • What are the benefits of the copper IUD?
  • When can the copper IUD be inserted?
  • How is the copper IUD inserted?
  • Are there any warning signs I should look out for after the IUD is inserted?


What is "the IUD"?

The IUD is a small, plastic device that is inserted by a physician / practitioner and left inside the uterus. Although there have been several types of IUDs, currently only two are available in the United States. Both are T-shaped and have a string at the base of the T that will extend trough the cervix and lie in the vaginal canal. The copper IUD releases a small amount of copper into the uterus and may remain in your body for up to 10 years. The hormonal IUD releases a small amount of the hormone progesterone into the uterus, but must be replaced every year.


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How does the copper IUD work?

It primarily prevents pregnancy by interfering with the movement of sperm thus preventing fertilization of the egg. The copper IUD prevents fertilization as well as affecting the lining of the uterus so implantation will not occur.

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How effective is the copper IUD?

The IUD is extremely effective. During the first year of use, 8 out of 1000 women will become pregnant with the Copper T.


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Am I a good candidate for the copper IUD?

The copper IUD is best suited for women with families who want convenient, effective, reversible contraception. It is recommended for women who have at least one child, are in a stable, mutually faithful relationship (to minimize chance of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases that might cause pelvic inflammatory disease) and have no history or suspicion of pelvic infection.


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Are there any reasons why I shouldn't use the copper IUD?

For some women, certain conditions can increase the chance of having problems with the IUD. The IUD may NOT be a good choice if you have:

  • had a pelvic infection
  • had an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy
  • severe pain during menstrual periods
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • multiple sexual partners or a high risk for sexually transmitted diseases
  • allergy to copper

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    What are the common side effects of the copper IUD?

    Irregular Bleeding:

  • Bleeding problems constitute one of the more common IUD complications. Some women have cramping and spotting during the first few weeks after the IUD is placed. These should disappear within a month. The IUD does cause slightly crampier and longer menstrual periods. These symptoms can be treated with Motrin or Advil.
  • Pelvic Infection:

  • The risk of developing a pelvic infection associated with the IUD is attributable to insertion of the device and exposure to sexually transmitted infection. The greatest risk occurs during the first few weeks following insertion. Women who have more than one sexual partner or whose partner has other sexual partners are at high risk for acquiring a sexually transmitted disease.
  • Expulsion:

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  • Between 2 and 10% of IUD users spontaneously expel their IUD within the first year. Expulsion, though infrequent, is more likely to occur during the first 3 months of use. An IUD expulsion can occur without a woman knowing it. Therefore, you should check regularly to make sure the "string" is still present.

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    What are the benefits of the copper IUD?

  • highly effective
  • easy to use -- you don't have to remember to insert it before sex or take a pill every day
  • reversible -- it can be easily removed in the office if you decide to get pregnant and you do not need to wait before attempting pregnancy can be used by breastfeeding women because there is no affect on lactation
  • inexpensive -- after the first year of use, the annual cost for using the IUD is less expensive per year may be used by women who cannot use hormonal methods and causes no systemic side effects (except in women allergic to copper or have a condition called Wilson's disease)
  • comfort - you should not be aware of the presence of the IUD. You and your partner should not be able to feel the IUD during intercourse

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    When can the copper IUD be inserted?

    First it must be determined that you are a good candidate for the IUD. Your doctor will take a medical history, perform a pelvic exam and obtain any appropriate lab tests. The insertion can then be scheduled within the first 5 days of your next menstrual period; this insures that you are not pregnant at the time of insertion and the method is effective immediately for birth control. The IUD can also be placed after giving birth, as soon as your uterus has returned to its normal pre-pregnancy state. It can be determined whether you are ready for IUD insertion at your postpartum check.


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    How is the copper IUD inserted?

    You may be given some antibiotics to take prior to insertion to protect from infection. Also, taking 3-4 Motrin or Advil an hour prior to insertion will minimize the discomfort of the insertion. Insertion of the IUD does not require anesthesia. Immediately before the IUD is inserted, you will be asked to sign a consent form making sure you understand everything about the insertion and a pregnancy test will be checked. To insert the IUD, the arms of the T-shaped device are folded and the IUD is placed in a long, slender, plastic tube. The tube is then inserted into the vagina and guided through the cervix into the uterus. The IUD is then pushed out of the plastic tube into the uterus and the tube is withdrawn.

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    Each IUD comes with a string or "tail" made of a thin plastic thread. After insertion the thread is trimmed so that 1-2 inches hang out of the cervix inside your vagina. You will be able to tell about the placement of the IUD by the location of the string. The string will not bother you, but your partner may feel it with his penis. If he reports discomfort, the string may be further trimmed. It is important that you check the string each month. To do this, you must insert a finger into your vagina and feel around for the string. You can do this at any time, but doing it after your menstrual period is easy to remember. If you feel the string is shorter or longer than it used to be-or if you don't feel the string at all-call your doctor. The IUD may have slipped out of place. Use another form of birth control until your IUD is checked


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    Are there any warning signs I should look out for after the IUD is inserted?

    Call your doctor if you have any of the following problems:

  • severe abdominal pain
  • pain during intercourse
  • bleeding or spotting that occurs between periods, after intercourse, or that lasts more than a few months
  • missed period or other signs of pregnancy
  • unusual vaginal discharge
  • a change in length or position of the string

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    FAQs

    What are the 4 types of birth control methods? ›

    Types of birth control can include pills, intrauterine devices (IUD), vasectomy and condoms. Some forms of birth control work better than others.

    What are the top 3 birth control methods? ›

    The kinds of birth control that work the best to prevent pregnancy are the implant and IUDs — they're also the most convenient to use, and the most foolproof. Other birth control methods, like the pill, ring, patch, and shot, are also really good at preventing pregnancy if you use them perfectly.

    What are 5 types of birth controls available? ›

    What birth control options are available?
    • Barrier methods. Examples include male and female condoms, as well as the diaphragm, cervical cap and contraceptive sponge.
    • Short-acting hormonal methods. ...
    • Long-acting hormonal methods. ...
    • Sterilization. ...
    • Spermicide or vaginal gel. ...
    • Fertility awareness methods.

    Where can I go in NYC to get birth control? ›

    You can get birth control at health centers, family planning clinics or through your health care provider. Health insurance plans are required to cover birth control with no copay.

    What are the 3 least effective forms of birth control? ›

    What are the 3 least effective forms of birth control?

    Should I still use condoms while on the pill? ›

    Should I still use condoms while on the pill?

    What is the best long term birth control? ›

    Contraceptives that are more than 99% effective:

    contraceptive implant (lasts up to 3 years) intrauterine system, or IUS (up to 5 years) intrauterine device, or IUD, also called the coil (up to 5 to 10 years) female sterilisation (permanent)

    How effective is birth control without pulling out? ›

    Fewer than 1 in 100 women will get pregnant in a year when using the combined pill correctly. Typical use: around 91% effective.

    What is the #1 most effective form of birth control? ›

    1. Abstinence. This might seem obvious, but the most effective way to prevent pregnancy is to abstain from sex. That's right, abstinence is still the best form of birth control—that is, if it's a lifestyle you choose to maintain.

    What is the newest type of birth control? ›

    Twirla (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol transdermal system; Agile Therapeutics) is a patch that was approved by the FDA in February 2022. It has the same schedule as the current patch on the market (1 patch per week for 3 weeks, and then 1 week without).

    What is the most common permanent birth control in females? ›

    The most common form of permanent birth control (contraception) for women is called a tubal ligation or having the "tubes tied." This is a safe and highly effective option for women who wish to prevent pregnancy permanently.

    Does IUD have less hormones than pill? ›

    Since the IUD lacks estrogen, it is a low-risk alternative. (Not to mention the fact that there is also significantly less progesterone than the alternatives). In addition, common side effects of oral contraceptives (nausea, bloating, breast tenderness, etc.) are generally less common with the IUD.

    Can you get birth control from your local health department? ›

    Most city and county health departments will be able to help you determine your most effective birth control methods and help you access those options. Typically, an appointment costs $10 to $25 dollars, during which you'll get a consultation with a physician and get a birth control prescription.

    Are IUDs free in NYC? ›

    Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants are available for most Planned Parenthood of Greater New York patients at no cost. These long-acting, reversible methods are highly effective. Call to make an appointment.

    Is Planned Parenthood free in New York? ›

    If you don't qualify for FPBP or decide not to apply, you may still be able to use PPNCNY's free or low-cost services. Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York will take care of you no matter what!

    What is the safest form of permanent birth control? ›

    The most common form of permanent birth control (contraception) for women is called a tubal ligation or having the "tubes tied." This is a safe and highly effective option for women who wish to prevent pregnancy permanently.

    What birth control is most popular? ›

    IUDs. Intrauterine devices, known as IUDs, are the most commonly used form of reversible birth control worldwide!

    What is the healthiest birth control pill? ›

    What is the safest contraception pill? Generally, low-dose birth control pills, be it combination or progestin-only minipill, are considered safest as they are associated with the lowest risk of causing blood clots.

    Why does the pull out method fail? ›

    Using the withdrawal method for birth control requires self-control. Even then, the withdrawal method isn't an especially effective form of birth control. Sperm may enter the vagina if withdrawal isn't properly timed or if pre-ejaculation fluid contains sperm.

    How likely is she to get pregnant if I pull out? ›

    Pulling out isn't a very reliable way to prevent pregnancy. It works about 78% of the time, which means that over a year of using this method, 22 out of 100 women -- about 1 in 5 -- would get pregnant. By comparison, male condoms are 98% effective when used correctly every time.

    How do you get pregnant if he pulls out? ›

    You still can get pregnant even if your partner pulls out in time. This is because a small amount of pre-ejaculate semen is released before ejaculation. There is sperm in this small amount of semen, which can lead to pregnancy if you're ovulating.

    What is the least reliable birth control? ›

    Spermicide is a material that kills sperm to prevent pregnancy. It's one of the least effective birth control methods when used alone. Women get pregnant about 28% of the time when using only spermicide as birth control.

    Does IUD mess up fertility? ›

    The short answer: The hormonal IUD (Mirena) doesn't affect future fertility. The long answer: The Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a small contraceptive device that is inserted into the uterus. This hormonal IUD works more like other hormonal contraceptives (the pill or injection).

    What is the only birth control method with a 100% success rate? ›

    Although birth control can be an effective way to prevent unintended pregnancy, no method is 100 percent successful. Each type has pros and cons, including how effective it is. Hormonal intrauterine devices (IUD) and hormonal implants are the most effective forms of reversible birth control.

    What is the best birth control 2022? ›

    The nonhormonal IUD Paragard is wrapped in copper, which is a natural sperm repellent. Efficacy rate: IUDs are more than 99 percent effective. They're considered among the most effective birth control options.

    What are the safest birth control method? ›

    Best Birth Control
    • Condoms.
    • Female Condoms.
    • Birth Control Pills.
    • Implants.
    • Vasectomy.
    • Birth Control Myths.
    • Permanent Birth Control.
    • Tubal Ligation.
    7 Nov 2022

    Which birth control has no hormones? ›

    The diaphragm, the cervical cap, and the sponge are also solid non-hormonal options, but they're a little more high maintenance than other methods. They require that you take care of your birth control in the time right before you have sex, which isn't for everyone.

    Why are periods worse after tubal ligation? ›

    Most women who develop abnormalities in their menstrual cycle after a tubal ligation will not have a serious medical condition. Most will have hormonal abnormalities, uterine fibroids, or anovualtion as the cause for changes in their menstrual cycle.

    Where does the egg go if your tubes are tied? ›

    After surgery, each ovary still releases an egg. But the egg's passage through the fallopian tube is now blocked. Sperm also cannot pass through the tube to the egg. When egg and sperm can't meet, pregnancy cannot happen; your body absorbs the egg.

    Does getting your tubes tied hurt? ›

    Your incision sites (where you got the cuts) may be a little uncomfortable afterward. You might also have pain or cramps in your belly, fatigue, mild vaginal bleeding, dizziness, or a sore throat from the anesthesia. If the surgeon used gas to blow up your abdomen to do the tubal ligation, you may have some bloating.

    Who should not get an IUD? ›

    You also shouldn't get a Paragard IUD if you have a copper allergy, Wilson's Disease, or a bleeding disorder that makes it hard for your blood to clot. And you shouldn't get a hormonal IUD if you have had breast cancer. Very rarely, the size or shape of someone's uterus makes it hard to place an IUD correctly.

    What is safer the pill or IUD? ›

    Both the pill and IUDs are extremely effective in preventing pregnancy. The IUD is 99% effective, while the pill is 91% effective. The reason the pill is sometimes less effective is due to improper use, such as failure to take it regularly.

    Is the bar or IUD better? ›

    Key takeaways: IUDs and hormonal implants are both equally effective methods of birth control, with pregnancy occurring in fewer than 1 out of 100 women with typical use.

    What are the 7 methods of birth control? ›

    What are the 7 methods of birth control?

    What is the most common birth control method? ›

    What is the most common birth control method?

    What are 10 types of birth control? ›

    What are 10 types of birth control?

    What are the 11 birth control options they list? ›

    What are the 11 birth control options they list?

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