Her Guide to Getting an IUD

There are a lot of different ways to go when choosing your birth control method: pill, implant, Depo shot, IUD, etc., and navigating the world of birth control can be quite challenging, as we all know. Unfortunately, finding the right fit for you involves a lot of trial and error. I recently switched my birth control method to an IUD and I’m glad I did. 

If you are considering or have decided to go with an IUD (Intrauterine Device), there are a few things you need to know, and today I am going to share with you what I learned from my experience. 

Let’s dive in! 

 

Research

There are a variety of IUD brands that you will want to look into in order to know which one you think you would prefer. There are both hormonal and non-hormonal (i.e. Copper IUD) brands to consider. Some hormone progestin IUD brands include: Mirena, Liletta and Skyla, each of which will provide protection against pregnancy for up to 5 years. The common Copper IUD brand, Paragard lasts up to 12 years and is 100% hormone free. All IUD brands however, hormones or no hormones, do protect against pregnancy over 99%. 

FUN FACT: according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, IUDs are one of the most effective forms of birth control. 

When doing your research, try asking around to get a recommendation from one or two friends or resort to good old fashioned internet research- including of course Cosmopolitan. 

 

Talk to your Doctor 

Whether you dive into educating yourself on your IUD or not, you will most likely have at least some questions. So, if there is something you are concerned or confused about, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about it. They’re there to help you. 

 

Clear your schedule! 

When deciding which day works best for you to make an appointment, make sure to either clear your schedule for a day or pick a day when you know you don’t have anything going on. You will need time to rest and recover after the procedure. 

 

Ask your Doctor about Pain Management 

We all know getting an IUD inserted is no walk in the park. It can be an incredibly painful procedure, which is the most common concern women have when considering an IUD. However, there are a few options for you to help you through the pain. So, talk to your Doctor about your concerns and what they can do to help you. 

 

Phone a friend 

Everyone has a different pain tolerance and therefore everyone’s procedure experience will be different; however, you will most likely be in pain and possibly feel pretty woozy or lightheaded, so it’s important that you make sure you have a support system. Phone a friend and ask them to go with you. Having someone there to make sure you get home safe is very important and it will help ease your stress and make you feel a little more comfortable. 

 

Book an Appointment with your OBGYN

Now it’s time to actually set a date! The ideal time, as your doctor will tell you, is during your period due to the fact that your cervix is softer. 

 

Additionally, if you don’t have an OB or your OB is back home for you, you can go to any Urgent Care center to make an appointment with their OBGYN office. For the local Bostonians, Harvard Vanguard is very good. 

 

STOCK UP 

Now that you have your appointment all set, the next thing you have to do is make sure you are stocked up on all of your recovery essentials. You will need Tylenol or Advil for pain management, plenty of comfort food, plenty of fluids, a heat pack and some movies or TV shows to binge. 

 

Eat something before hand 

It is very possible that you will feel at least a little lightheaded after the procedure and your doctor will get you some juice and crackers to help with that, but it will also help if you have a good meal before hand. Proper nutrition will help give you the strength you need to get through the procedure. 

 

Don’t stress too much & take deep breaths

Being in the stirrups is 100% uncomfortable and awkward. Plus the added stress of having an invasive vaginal procedure. The whole process seems pretty intimidating I know, but it will be okay. Just try to breathe. The nurse will walk you through the steps of what you have to do and what is going to happen and then your Doctor will come in and explain it to you further. Remember the actual procedure only lasts a few minutes and the nurse will hold your hand and help you breathe through the pain. 

 

Rest & Recover

After the insertion you will still be in pain for a while and possibly feel woozy. Your Doctor will give you some time to rest and recover before you go home, to make sure you feel well enough to go home. When I had mine done, my Doctor asked me to rate my pain every 15 minutes or so. Your nurse or doctor will also give you some crackers and juice to help ease the dizziness. 

 

After your friend helps you get home safely, the best thing to do is to lay down with your heat pack and take a nice long nap. You may have some cramping for the following days after the procedure but they will calm down. Rest up and take it easy while you recover. 

 

Getting an IUD or deciding on any birth control is not an easy decision. I have only had my IUD for a few weeks so I can’t speak to the long term side effects but so far the short term side effects have not been bad at all.   

Not having to worry about your birth control for 5 years or even 12 years if you go with a Copper IUD, is pretty awesome in my opinion. The procedure may be painful but if it works for you, the long term effects are completely worth it. So, if you are considering an IUD, I highly recommend you give it a try it!