Heights OBGYN


Today’s birth control devices are not your mother’s IUDs

Not your mother's IUD - Birth control optionsIf you are considering getting an IUD, or intrauterine device, your mother or grandmother may not agree with your decision. Her fears are based on IUDs from the 1970s, particularly one called the Dalkon Shield, which caused problems for women. Today’s devices are safe and effective. In fact, long-acting reversible contraceptives, or LARCs, which include the IUD and the birth control implant, are the most effective birth control methods available, other than sterilization. Fewer than one woman out of 100 get pregnant when using LARCs for one year. Here’s what our San Antonio OBGYNs want you to know about today’s IUD.

Here’s how IUDs work

The hormonal IUD and birth control implant, which are effective for three to eight years, both release the hormone progestin into the uterus. Progestin thickens cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus and reach the egg to fertilize it. This hormone also thins the uterine lining, making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.

The copper IUD, which is effective for up to 10 years, releases copper into the uterus, which affects sperm’s ability to move and act normally. This makes it harder for sperm to go into the uterus and reach the egg.

What are the pros and cons of intrauterine devices?

IUDs offer several benefits.

  • Effective for up to three to 10 years
  • No interference with sex, tampon use or daily activities
  • Our San Antonio OBGYNs can insert the devices immediately after a miscarriage, an abortion or childbirth
  • You can breastfeed with an IUD in place
  • You can start trying to get pregnant immediately after our physicians remove your device
  • Works as an emergency contraceptive if inserted within five days or 120 hours after unprotected sex

Intrauterine devices don’t cause many medical problems or serious complications, and almost everyone can use them. Here are some problems you may encounter, usually during or shortly after physicians insert the device.

  • Device coming partially or completely out of the uterus
  • Rarely, an IUD goes through the uterine wall during placement, and physicians have to remove it
  • Very rarely, women can get pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, after physicians insert the device
  • In the very rare instance where a woman gets pregnant with an IUD in place, she may have a higher risk of having an ectopic pregnancy

Talk to our San Antonio OBGYNs about long-acting reversible contraceptives

IUDs are safe, effective forms of birth control. Contact us to talk to our physicians about long-acting reversible contraceptives.