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What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant with an IUD?

Reviewed on 9/19/2018

Ask a Doctor

I’m thinking about getting an intrauterine device instead of my current birth control. What are the chances of getting pregnant with an IUD?

Doctor’s Response

IUDs have been shown to be over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. A woman can increase her protection by checking the IUD string regularly and talking with her doctor immediately if she notices a problem.

  • According to Planned Parenthood, more than 95% of women who use IUDs are happy with them.
  • A woman using an IUD is always protected from pregnancy with nothing to remember. She does not need to remember to take a pill every day, for instance.
  • IUDs start working right away and can be removed at any time.
  • IUDs are relatively inexpensive.
  • IUDs can be inserted 4 weeks after the delivery of a baby or after an abortion.
  • Women who use a copper IUD after childbirth can breastfeed safely.
  • An IUD is not felt by a woman or her partner during sex.
  • Women who cannot use birth control pills because of cigarette smoking or conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure) may be able to use an IUD.
  • Many women experience less menstrual blood loss and pain with hormonal IUDs.

Advantages of copper IUDs (ParaGard)

  • The copper IUD is the most commonly used type of IUD worldwide.
  • It can be left in the body for up to 10 years.
  • It can be removed at any time if a woman wishes to become pregnant or if she does not want to use it anymore.
  • The arms of this IUD contain some copper, which is slowly released into the uterus.
  • Side effects of the copper IUD can include heavier periods and worsening of menstrual cramps.

Advantages of hormonal IUDs (Mirena, Skyla)

The Mirena or Skyla IUDs contain progesterone hormones, which cause cervical mucus to thicken to prevent sperm from entering the cervix and reaching the egg. Hormonal IUDs reduce the risk of tubal pregnancies and pelvic inflammatory disease. They also dramatically decrease menstrual blood loss. Mirena is approved for up to five years of use, and Skyla for up to three years.

  • They can be removed at any time if a woman decides she wishes to become pregnant or if she does not want to use it anymore.
  • Hormones are in the main stem of the IUD and are released slowly into the uterus.
  • Side effects of hormonal IUDs can include irregular periods for 3-6 months after insertion.
  • Hormonal IUDs tend to reduce menstrual flow by up to 90% and may stop periods altogether in some cases.

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Reviewed on 9/19/2018
Medscape. Contraception.