An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, “T” shaped device that is inserted through the vagina and cervix (opening the womb) and placed inside the uterus (womb). Depending of the type of IUD you decide to implant, it can last up to 10 years inside your uterus and is a highly effective form of birth control. IUDs are safe and can be used by all women, even if they have never given birth. Fewer than 1 in 100 women will become pregnant in the first year of using an IUD.
Copper IUD (ParaGard)
The copper IUD is a “T” shaped device that is lined with copper. Copper causes the sperm to die before they are able to reach the egg. There are no hormones involved with this type of birth control, which is good for those who wish to avoid hormones. ParaGard does not affect your periods and can work for up to 12 years. The copper IUD can be placed immediately after you deliver your baby or once you have reached 8 weeks postpartum. You can also place a copper IUD up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse to prevent a pregnancy.
Hormonal IUD (Mirena, Skyla, and Liletta)
This progestin-containing IUD works by thickening the mucus in the cervix so that sperm have difficulty reaching the egg. In addition, the progesterone keeps the lining of the uterus low making it difficult for the egg to attach to the uterus. It may cause you to stop having periods, which is a normal side effect. Hormonal IUDs can last between 3-5 years before it has to be replaced. Always talk to your doctor before choosing any type of birth control.