WHAT IS AN IUD?
The intra uterine device (IUD) is a small device that goes inside your uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is a type of long-acting reversible contraception.
When can I get my IUD put in?
An IUD may be put in at any time you choose, as long as you are not pregnant or at risk of being pregnant. Some good times to get it put in are:
- While you have your period or just after
- Four weeks after your baby is born
- At the time of a surgical abortion
- As emergency contraception up to five days after unprotected sex (copper IUD).
We need to be sure that you’re not pregnant before we put the IUD in. If you are not using reliable contraception, this might mean taking a pregnancy test or delaying the IUD insertion. Reliable contraception means using another method of contraception correctly, like taking the pill, using a condom every time you have sex, or not having any sex.
We might also suggest you have an STI test.
If you are having your IUD changed, please use condoms during the seven days before your appointment, or don't have any sex. This is in case the new IUD cannot be inserted.
If you have had unprotected sex since your last period and you are wanting an IUD fitted, please contact us. You may be eligible for an emergency (coper) IUD.
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 – paracetamol (two 500mg tablets) and/or (ibuprofen two 400mg tablets)
- 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?
- 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 threads 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?
Removal is generally a quick process and is usually less painful than having your IUD put in.
Your nurse or doctor can take out your IUD by putting a speculum into your vagina and then using a little tool to grab the strings of the IUD to pull it out. This might be uncomfortable for a few seconds.
preparing to have your iud removed
There are lots of reasons you might choose to have your IUD removed.
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 should use condoms if you have sexual intercourse in the 7 days before you have your IUD removed. You should do the same if you are having your IUD changed.
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 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.