The Intra Uterine Device (IUD) is a type of contraception. It’s a small device that’s placed inside your uterus(womb) to prevent pregnancy.
- It's more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
- It works for three, five or 10 years depending on the type of IUD.
- You don’t need to do anything after it's put in (inserted). It's 'fit and forget’ contraception.
- It’s reversible - you can choose to have it taken out at any time. After that, you'll be able to get pregnant.
- IUDs don’t protect you from sexually transmissible infections (STIs). The best way to reduce the risk of STIs is to use barrier protection such as condoms with all new sexual partners.
Watch our video to see if an IUD is right for you.
Find out about getting an IUD.
Find out about having your IUD removed.
WHAT IS AN IUD?
An IUD is a long-acting reversible contraception or ‘LARC’. It’s a small device that’s placed inside your uterus (womb) to prevent pregnancy. It can work for up to 10 years, depending on the IUD type. It can be easily removed sooner, if needed.
There are two types of IUDs: one with hormones, one without hormones.
- Copper IUD - contains copper, a type of metal, doesn't contain hormones.
- Hormonal IUD – contains the hormone progestogen (Mirena or Jaydess).
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The hormones or the copper stop the sperm reaching the egg. Sometimes, sperm does reach the egg (fertilisation) so the IUD stops the egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus.
GETTING AN IUD FOR EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION
The copper IUD can also be used as emergency contraception.
It can be inserted up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex, or within five days of your earliest expected date of ovulation.
If you've had unprotected sex since your last period and you want an IUD, contact us to see if we can help you with an emergency copper IUD.
GETTING AN IUD FOR HEAVY OR PAINFUL PERIODS
The hormonal IUD (Mirena) can help with heavy or painful periods.
Most people with a Mirena will have light bleeding or no periods at all. If you want a hormonal IUD to help you manage your bleeding, the nurse or doctor may recommend the heavy bleeding is investigated before your IUD is put in.
If you have heavy or painful periods you shouldn’t get a copper IUD because it might make them worse.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF AN IUD?
- It's 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Only 1 in 100 people will get pregnant each year.
- Long acting – it lasts for between three and 10 years depending on the type of IUD.
- Reversible – you can choose to have it taken out at any time. After that, you'll be able to get pregnant
- You don’t need to think about contraception every day.
- Doesn't affect breastfeeding.
- Doesn't get in the way of sex.
- The copper IUD doesn't contain any hormones.
- The copper IUD can also be used as emergency contraception.
- The hormonal IUD has a very small amount of hormones and most people have no side effects from this.
- The Mirena (IUD with hormones) can help with period bleeding and pain. Most people with a Mirena will have light bleeding or no periods at all.
Studies show that IUDs do not cause pimples, headaches, sore breasts, nausea, mood changes, loss of sex drive or weight gain. There is no evidence of an extra risk of cancer.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
The IUD is free for New Zealand citizens and residents, but you may need to pay a $5 prescription fee.
WHO CAN GET AN IUD?
Most people can use an IUD, including young people and those who haven't had children.
WILL AN IUD PROTECT ME FROM STIS?
No. You need to use condoms (and lubricant) to protect yourself from sexually transmissible infections (STIs). If there is a chance you may have an STI, have a check-up before you get an IUD put in.
HOW DO I GET AN IUD?
If you're not sure about whether an IUD is right for you, you may want to book an appointment before the IUD is put in to talk about your options.
An IUD may be put in at any time you choose, as long as you're not pregnant or at risk of being pregnant. Some good times to get it put in:
- 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).
- If you have an infection, you should get it treated before you get an IUD put in.
Usually the IUD can be put in at your first appointment, but sometimes it's not possible. This could be because:
- We can’t be reasonably sure you’re not pregnant.
- You haven’t had a period since taking emergency contraception (ECP).
- You have heavy bleeding which needs to be checked out.
- It's difficult to insert the IUD.
If this is the case for you, your nurse or doctor will talk to you about what happens next. Usually, another IUD appointment will be made for you to have the IUD put in.
Find out about getting your IUD.
HOW DO I HAVE MY IUD REMOVED?
Find out about having your IUD.
Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.