What you need to know before you get your IUD
This information is important to read before you get your IUD. You should also watch our video before your IUD insertion appointment.
WHAT IS AN IUD?
The intra uterine device (IUD) is a type of long-acting reversible contraception. It is a small, T-shaped object that goes inside your uterus to prevent pregnancy.
When can I get my IUD put in?
An IUD can be put in at any time you choose. Some good times to get it put in are:
- While you have your period or just after
- 6 weeks after your baby is born
- At the time of a surgical abortion
- As emergency contraception after unprotected sex (copper IUD).
We might need to check that you’re not pregnant before we put the IUD in. We might also suggest you have an STI test.
WHAT DO I DO BEFORE MY APPOINTMENT?
- Eat something before your appointment so you are less likely to feel faint or dizzy
- You might want to take pain killers one hour before your appointment.
- Most people go straight back to work/study/regular activities after an IUD is put in. In case you feel faint or have cramps afterwards, you might want to organise for a friend or family member to take you home so you can rest for a few hours.
- Give yourself enough time for the appointment – up to an hour. You might need to rest after having the IUD put in.
- If you have children, have someone to look after them while you are at your appointment.
Sometimes we can’t put the IUD in the first time and you might need to come back for another appointment.
WHAT DO I DO AFTER MY APPOINTMENT?
- If you have your period, use pads (not tampons) for the first 48 hours
- Make an appointment to have your IUD checked after your next period – about six weeks after it was put in.
- Check your IUD strings are still there every after every period or at the start of each month
- See a doctor if you:
- have unusual pain, bleeding or discharge
- think your IUD is coming out or has come out (you might need emergency contraception)
- think you might be pregnant.
If you have any questions about your IUD, you can make an appointment at Family Planning.
HOW IS THE IUD TAKEN OUT?
Your nurse or doctor can take out your IUD by putting a speculum into your vagina and gently pulling on the IUD strings. This might be uncomfortable for a few seconds.
If you are taking it out because you want to become pregnant, we can take the IUD out at any time during your period cycle.
If you are taking it out but you don’t want to become pregnant, you might need to have a pregnancy test first. You should also start using a different type of contraception before the IUD is taken out.
Pregnancy and the IUD
If you become pregnant with an IUD in place, we need to check that the pregnancy is not ectopic (in the fallopian tubes). If you want to continue the pregnancy, it is usually better for the IUD to be taken out to lower the risk of infection and miscarriage, but this needs to be done early. It may be necessary to leave the IUD in place if it cannot be removed easily.
Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.