Is It Actually Possible
Yes, you can get pregnant while using an IUD but its rare.
IUDs are more than 99 percent effective. This means that less than 1 out of every 100 people who have an IUD will become pregnant.
All IUDs hormonal, non-hormonal, or copper have a similar failure rate.
Read on to learn why this happens, your options for emergency contraception, when to take a pregnancy test, and more.
What Happens If I Get Pregnant While I Am Using The Copper Iud
It is important that you see a doctor or nurse as soon as possible and have the IUD removed. The doctor or nurse will also need to rule out a pregnancy in your fallopian tubes . If the IUD is removed, you can continue the pregnancy or have an abortion. If the IUD cannot be removed and you continue the pregnancy, there is a higher risk of losing the pregnancy.
Pregnant And I Have An Iud In Place
You may have thought an unexpected pregnancy was impossible. After all, you have an Intrauterine Device in place. IUDs are said to be more than 99 percent effective. How can this be happening? Its rare, but certain circumstances can reduce an IUDs effectiveness. Understandably, its frustrating when your contraceptive method fails. You may have questions about your health and your pregnancy options. This can seem like a lot to sort through all at once. Where do you turn if youre pregnant while having an IUD?
Learning youre pregnant despite having an IUD in place can be a stressful situation. Avenue Womens Center understands how overwhelming it can be when your contraception fails. Thats why our expert pregnancy consultants are here to guide you through your next steps. Confirm your pregnancy with a free, medical-grade pregnancy test. Our tests are accurate just ten days after possible conception. Afterwards, you can walk through all of your pregnancy options with one of our caring client advocates.
Contact us today to receive limited medical services and options information at any of our six DuPage County locations!
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Who Can Get An Iud
Most people can use an IUD, including those who are young and those who have not had children.
Hormonal IUDs are a really good option if you have heavy or painful periods.
If you have an infection, you should get it treated before you get an IUD put in.
If you have heavy or painful periods you should not get a copper IUD because it might make them worse.
Pro: Its So Tiny You Cant Feel It
An IUD is a flexible, T-shaped appliance thats only about an inch long. Your OB/GYN specialist inserts the IUD into your uterus, where it remains for 3-12 years, depending on the type of IUD you have. Your doctor removes the IUD whenever youre ready to start a family.
The IUD has two tiny strings that hang through your cervix into your vagina. You check the strings every so often to be sure your IUD remains in position.
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You Have Pain Even Though The Iud Is In
One sign of pregnancy that absolutely shouldn’t be ignored is pain, especially in your abdomen. “If you are having abdominal or pelvic pain that does not go away with over the counter pain medications, or you are having heavy vaginal bleeding, you need to be evaluated immediately,” explains Dr. Farid. Unfortunately, pain can be a sign of something more worrisome. âWomen who do get pregnant while using an IUD have an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy, which is very risky for a woman’s health.”
Hereâs how it happens. During an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg doesnât grow in the uterus , but rather in the fallopian tube, although it can occur in the ovary, or even the cervix, the Mayo Clinic reported. It can lead to pelvic or abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, and pregnancy loss. And if you experience sudden severe pain in your abdomen, shoulder, or lower back, or feel cramping on one side of your pelvis, or even faint, you should go to the emergency room, ACOG reported.
First Lets Do A Quick Iud Refresher
There are a few different kinds of IUDs, all of which are implanted inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy and last anywhere from three to 10 years.
Some contain progestin, a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone. It thickens cervical mucus, making it tougher for sperm to get to an egg. It also thins the uterine lining so that even if the sperm did reach an available egg, the fertilized egg would have a hard time implanting.
Hormonal IUDs include:
- Liletta, which is recommended for up to five years
- Skyla, which is recommended for up to three years
Then there’s the copper IUD, Paragard, which is the kind Brown says she used. Those work by causing an inflammatory reaction that harms sperm, according to the Mayo Clinic, and theyre recommended for up to 10 years. Thats a full decade of pregnancy prevention when all goes according to planwhich it typically does.
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How Does The Copper Iud Work
IUDs affect the way sperm move and survive in the uterus , stopping sperm from meeting and fertilising an egg. IUDs can also change the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for a fertilised egg to stick to the lining to start a pregnancy.
Local anaesthetic: a medicine used to numb a part of yourbody for a short while. You remain conscious.
Sedation: a medicine used to cause a relaxed, sleep-like state so you are unaware of the procedure.
What Is A Miscarriage
A miscarriage happens if a pregnancy ends spontaneously before its 20th week. At that point, the fetus isnt developed enough to survive outside the uterus.
If you get pregnant while using an IUD, the device increases the risk of miscarriage. If you want to stay pregnant, its important to remove the IUD early in pregnancy.
Sometimes, an IUD can slip out of place. If that happens, the risk of pregnancy is higher.
To check the placement of your IUD:
Contact your doctor if:
- you cant feel the IUD string
- the IUD string feels longer or shorter than it used to
- you can feel the hard plastic of the IUD coming out of your cervix
Your doctor can use an ultrasound exam to check the internal positioning of your IUD. If it has slipped out of place, they can insert a new IUD.
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How An Iud Prevents Pregnancy
There are two types of IUDs one that contains copper and one that produces progestin, which is a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. Both create a hostile environment for sperm to prevent it from fertilizing an egg.
The copper IUD releases copper ions that inhibit sperm. Whereas the progestin from the other IUD causes changes that also decrease pregnancy risk. Specifically, your uterine lining thins and cervical mucus thickens, essentially blocking the sperm’s path to an egg.
Types Of Pregnancy With An Iud
If your IUD fails, the doctor will find out which type of pregnancy you have:
- Intrauterine pregnancy: This is a normal pregnancy in your uterus where your baby will grow for 9 months.
- Ectopic pregnancy: The embryo tries to grow outside your uterus. It usually happens in your fallopian tubes, which carry eggs to your ovaries and then to your uterus. You can also get an ectopic pregnancy in your ovaries, abdomen, or cervix. A pregnancy in one of these areas canât grow normally. Doctors will end an ectopic pregnancy to protect you from possible bleeding that could put your life at risk.
Since IUDs prevent pregnancies in your uterus, youâre more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy than a regular pregnancy. But this doesnât mean youâre at a higher risk for ectopic pregnancies in general just because you have an IUD.
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Luckily The Available Research Shows That Its Extremely Rare To Get Pregnant With An Iud
IUDs are a very, very reliable method of birth control, Maureen Whelihan, M.D., an ob/gyn at the Center for Sexual Health & Education, tells SELF. Jason James, M.D., medical director at Miami’s FemCare Ob-Gyn, agrees, but he also notes that even the best birth control can fail. Theres nothing thats 100 percent, he tells SELF.
Heres the generally accepted statistic: Fewer than one person out of every 100 with an IUD will get pregnant within the first year of use.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites a 2011 Contraception review in its materials about effectiveness of different birth control methods. The review examined the largest and most methodologically sound data on the subject, concluding that the failure rate for Paragard and Mirena are 0.8 and 0.2 percent respectively.
A 2017 study in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health studied 15,728 contraceptive use intervals from 6,683 women over four years, also concluding that IUDs were only likely to fail 1 percent of the time in a period of 12 months.
As you can see, the overall point is that getting pregnant with an IUD is extremely rare.
How To Tell If It’s Still In Place
An IUD has 2 thin threads that hang down a little way from your womb into the top of your vagina.
The GP or nurse that fits your IUD will teach you how to feel for these threads and check that it’s still in place.
Check your IUD is in place a few times in the first month and then after each period, or at regular intervals.
It’s very unlikely that your IUD will come out, but if you cannot feel the threads or think it’s moved, you may not be protected against pregnancy.
See a GP or nurse straight away and use additional contraception, such as condoms, until your IUD has been checked.
If you have had sex recently, you may need to use emergency contraception.
Your partner should not be able to feel your IUD during sex. If they can, see a GP or nurse for a check-up.
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How We Handle Pregnancy With An Iud
Our first step is to determine the type of pregnancy, which could be either:
Intrauterine, which is the normal location for pregnancy development, allowing for fetal growth over 9 months, or
Ectopic, which is when a fertilized egg implants in a fallopian tube or other location outside the uterus and poses serious health risks to the woman
We used to believe that having an IUD increased the risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. Now we understand that because IUDs are so effective at preventing intrauterine pregnancies that, if a pregnancy does occur, theres a higher likelihood that it developed outside the uterus. But patients arent at increased risk for ectopic pregnancies just because they have an IUD.
Next, we look for the IUD strings in the cervix to potentially remove the device. Studies have shown that the risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, and infection of the amniotic sac and fluid before delivery is significantly higher when IUDs are left in place during pregnancy compared to pregnancies in which the IUD is removed. However, while taking out the IUD improves the pregnancy outcome, there is still a higher risk of pregnancy complications compared to patients who never had an IUD in place. For most women whose IUD strings are visible through the cervix, we recommend removal of the IUD at the first visit.
How Long Can I Leave My Iud In
An IUD can stay in place for three, five or 10 years before it needs to be replaced, depending on the type of IUD. When you have it put in, the nurse or doctor will tell you when you will need to have it replaced.
You may be able to keep the IUD longer if you are in your 40s. If you get a copper IUD put in after you turn 40 or a hormonal IUD put in after you turn 45, your IUD may be able to stay in place until menopause. Ask the nurse or doctor if this is an option for you.
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What Happens If You Want To Continue The Pregnancy
If you choose to continue with the pregnancy, a healthcare professional will likely remove the IUD. This may help reduce the risks of complications, but the pregnancy will still be considered high risk. Most pregnancies with IUDs in place result in ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
Still, it is possible to deliver a healthy baby if the embryo is viable. Your healthcare professional will help you choose the best options for your health and the fetus.
You Have A Positive Pregnancy Test
When youâre happy with your IUD, it might be hard to even imagine that you could be pregnant. So if youâre experiencing symptoms, why not take a test to assuage your fears? âIf youâre having spotting, bleeding, breast tenderness, or fatigue, you could very well be pregnant, even with an IUD,â says Dr. Langdon. If it is positive, call your OB/GYN right away to figure out the next steps to ensure your health and safety. âItâs usually removed but sometimes itâs left inside. The complication rate is higher if it is left in the uterus compared to early removal but removal can also cause a miscarriage.â A positive test is definitely one of the biggest signs of pregnancy with an IUD.
Although it can be scary to think of possibly becoming pregnant with an IUD, it shouldnât stop you from opting for that form of birth control if thatâs what you choose. Dr. Farid agrees, stating: “The chance of a pregnancy is extremely low with an IUD it is still an excellent form of birth control.â
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Situations That Require Further Consideration Before Choosing A Copper Iud
If any of these things apply to you, it is best to talk them over with your doctor before deciding to use a copper IUD:
- you have painful or long-lasting periods
- you are anaemic
- you have had a recent sexually transmitted infection
- you have a congenital heart or valve disease
- you have fibroids or other conditions that change the shape of your uterus or cervix, or your uterus is fairly large or small
- you have already had previous problems with an IUD
- you are unable to have a follow-up check after insertion
The Tl dr On Pregnancy And Iuds
Becoming pregnant with an IUD inserted is “exceedingly rare,” according to an article published by the NLM, and it’s still one of the most effective forms of contraception. The pill, the patch, and the hormonal vaginal ring, for example, all have a typical use failure rate of 7 percent compared to less than 1 percent for IUDs, according to the CDC. That said, there isn’t one “best” form of birth control, and your needs may change over time, per the Office on Women’s Health. So if those risks of pregnancy with an IUD inserted make you feel uneasy, chat with your doc about your other birth control options.
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Con: Your Ob/gyn Specialist Must Insert It
You cant just buy an IUD at the drugstore. You need your OB/GYN specialist to put it in place, although it takes only a few minutes. In that regard, the procedure is similar to a getting a Pap smear.
You may experience some cramping right after insertion. Regular over-the-counter painkillers should be sufficient to offer you relief. If you have continued pain, have your OB/GYN specialist remove the IUD so you can choose another method of birth control.
How Is An Iud Put In
The doctor or nurse practitioner puts the IUD in through the vagina, past the cervix, and into the uterus. This only takes a few minutes from start to finish. People usually feel some cramping during the placement, but it gets better within a few minutes.
Taking it easy for the rest of the day, using a heating pad, and taking over-the-counter pain medicine can help with any discomfort after the IUD is placed.
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Other Types Of Contraception
There are many contraceptive methods available in Australia. When choosing the method of contraception that best suits you, it can help to talk to a doctor or nurse about your options. Different methods may suit you at different times in your life. A doctor or nurse can give you information about:
- the benefits and risks of using various methods of contraception
- how well each method works
- the possible risks and side effects
- how easy it is to use
- how much it costs
- how each method meets your current and future needs.
You Feel Pregnancy Fatigue
Canât get out of bed lately? Even with an IUD, you might be pregnant, Dr. Langdon explains. âFatigue is a big sign that you might be expecting,â she says. If youâve been pregnant before, you might recognize that all-consuming tiredness you feel early on when youâre expecting. Fatigue affects up to 60% of all pregnant women, What To Expect reported. So if all you want to do is sink into your bed and sleep all day, you might want to take a pregnancy testâ¦ just in case.
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