I Got An IUD, Here’s What It Was Like

This year, I decided to get an IUD. It seemed like the best option for me, as someone who isn’t good with taking medication at the same time every day, and who wanted a reliable form of birth control that would be low maintenance.

When I heard about the IUD, I thought it was the best option, but while I did research I got really daunted by the side effects and the dangers and it became a really stressful process. That’s why, now that it’s finally done, I thought I would write down my experience so that anyone else who is thinking about getting an IUD can get a really brief, unofficial overview of what it was like, without having to panic.

This article will break down the process, from before you get the IUD to the recovery process, and hopefully it will help shed some light on what the process is like for anyone else who is interested in getting an IUD.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

In case you guys aren’t aware, an IUD is a small birth control device that is inserted into the uterus. The hormonal IUD, which is the one I got, slowly releases a hormone that thickens the mucus lining in your uterus and slows down the mobility of sperm, protecting you against pregnancy. They last between three and five years, which is just awesome.

There are a couple different types of IUDs, so definitely do your research to decide which is best for you. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor and research other types of birth control, as well as looking into the pros and cons of each of them. Make sure you choose the option that is best for your situation, and which you will be most comfortable with.

  1. 1. After making the decision

    Alright, so you’ve decided to get an IUD. Congratulations! Now, how do you go about doing it?

    My experience was with the Laurier Wellness Center, so this is not going to be the process for everyone, but this is what I had to do to get the ball rolling.

    The first thing you have to do is book an appointment for a birth control consultation, where you will meet with a doctor who will explain the different types of birth control that are available for you, and answer any questions that you have. While you’re at this meeting you need to let the doctor know that you are interested in getting an IUD, and they will refer you to Dr. English, the only doctor at the Wellness Center who is qualified to do IUD insertions.

    You have to schedule a separate appointment for the IUD consultation, and when you meet with Dr. English she will go over your options and explain the specifics of the IUD. This is the time where you can ask any questions that you have, and Dr. English will answer them to the best of her ability.

    This meeting was what really helped me decide to get the IUD. Before meeting with Dr. English, I was really nervous about the possible side effects and risks of the procedure, but she was really reassuring and she answered all of my questions.

    Once you decide which IUD you want, Dr. English will give you a prescription for that IUD and the medication you will need (I’ll go into all of that later, don’t worry).

  2. 2. Booking the appointment

    The best time to get an IUD inserted is while you are on your period, but Dr. English has very limited hours in which she can put the device in, so the best thing to do is schedule the first appointment that is available and works with your school schedule. The appointment will be on a Thursday morning, and appointments fill up fast so make sure you don’t wait too long to book or you’ll be forced to schedule an appointment two months later like I did!

  3. 3. Before the IUD

    Your appointment is booked, you’ve got your prescription, awesome. What now?

    Dr. English will tell you everything you need to get, but here is some stuff I learned from my experience. The prescription she gave you is for whichever IUD you decide to get, as well as two painkillers. She will also give you a requisition for blood work if you end up getting the IUD inserted at a time when you aren’t on your period, which you need to get filled 3-5 days before your appointment.

    The best thing to do is to go on the Monday before your appointment and get your bloodwork done, and on the way home go to the pharmacy and fill your prescription. The pharmacy tends not to keep IUDs in stock, so odds are they will need to get one ordered in. Going on Monday ensures that the pharmacy will have enough time to get the IUD sent to them and ready for you to pick up.

    While you’re at the pharmacy, it’s also a good idea to pick up Tylenol and Advil, which you will need to take before and after the insertion.

    It's important to note that you should make sure you don’t open the IUD box. If for some reason you cannot get the IUD inserted, you can return the unopened box to the pharmacy, but if it’s open you’re kinda screwed — so make sure that box stays closed.

    The last thing you need to do leading up to the procedure is find someone to walk or drive you home. It’s not something that is entirely necessary, but there are some people who feel light-headed after the procedure, and it’s better to have someone with you to make sure you get home safely, in case for some reason you aren’t feeling well. It’s just something that can remove an element of stress from the day and make you feel a little bit more comfortable.

  4. 4. 24 hours to go

    The night before your appointment you are going to need to take those painkillers that you were prescribed and insert them into your vagina so that they press against your cervix, or as close as you can get. These medications cause your cervix to relax and loosen, which will make the insertion a lot less painful. The meds can cause you to cramp slightly, and sometimes you bleed, but this is all normal.

    I also made sure the night before to pack up the things I would need in the morning. I set up the Advil and Tylenol near my bed, and I packed a bag with my health card, a water bottle, the IUD box and a pad, so that in the morning I wouldn’t have to worry about remembering to do it all.

  5. 5. The day of

    On the day of your appointment, all you need to do is take two Advil and two Tylenol an hour before your procedure to help protect against any pain you might feel before or during the insertion. A good idea is to eat something before you go, just to make sure you aren’t doing this on an empty stomach.

    That’s it. Time to go.

  6. 6. It’s time!

    Once you’re at the doctor’s office the nurse will come get you. She’ll explain what you’ll have to do and check to make sure that everything is ready, and then she will show you to the room where the procedure will happen.

    You have to get naked from the waist down and lie on the bed with your feet in the stirrups, which is super strange and immediately made me think of Ross in that scene from Friends (you know the one). The nurse and the doctor will come in, and Dr. English will talk you through the entire process. She’s very calming and relaxing, and she makes sure that you know what’s happening at all times, which can help you relax (as much as you can in this type of situation).

  7. 7. The insertion 

    I won’t go into too much detail about the procedure itself, but in my experience the most painful part was when she moved my cervix into position, and when she actually inserted the IUD. Luckily, those things are over very quickly, so you only have to deal with that pain for less than a minute. The nurse will hold your hand through it, and you just need to breathe.

    The entire procedure takes maybe ten minutes, and once it’s done you’ll be asked to lie down for a few minutes to make sure you are feeling well enough to leave, and the doctor will give you all the follow-up information you will need, including scheduling an ultrasound appointment and making sure to take it easy for the next couple days.

    After all that’s covered, and you’re feeling well enough to go, you can get dressed and head out.

  8. 8. After the fact

    Once you get home, the best thing to do is take a nice relaxing nap. The worst of the cramps started for me about ten minutes after I left the Wellness Center, but I was pleased to learn that the cramps weren’t nearly as bad as I was expecting. I was alright with a heating pad on my lap, and within a few hours the pain subsided enough that the Advil and Tylenol was able to keep it at bay. I experienced only minor bleeding, and after those first few hours I was pretty much pain free as long as I was on painkillers.

    I only did all this stuff a couple of weeks ago, so I can’t say much about whether the long term effects such as reduced period will happen to me, but overall I was really happy with the experience. Going into the appointment I was super scared, I had no idea what to expect in terms of the procedure itself and the pain afterwards, but I was pleasantly surprised with how it went. And, bonus, I don’t have to go through any of that again for five years!

I know getting an IUD can be a really strange and scary experience, especially since there is a tonne of stuff on the internet that focuses on the negatives without talking about the positives. Hopefully this article helped you if you were considering getting an IUD, and hopefully it was reassuring in case you were feeling nervous. It’s a scary thing to do, but it’s not as bad as you think, and it’s definitely worth it.