Why An IUD Wasn’t Right For Me

During my pregnancy with my fourth child, I researched birth control methods, preparing for the inevitable questions I would get from the public/my doctor/everyone I see because I have gone above the “normal” limit of children. 

One of the most popular methods that popped up for moms like me were IUDs, intrauterine devices. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently recommended that sexually activate teens use intrauterine devices (IUDs) or sub-dermal implants as a birth control method, deeming them safe, even for adolescents.

But the idea of implanting birth control in my body was a decision I didn't want to take lightly, so I did my homework. 

{ MORE: Here's Your Permission To Skip Exercise During Pregnancy }

iud contraceptive option is it right for me
Image via Flickr/ Liz Henry

First of all, let's take a look at what IUDs actually are–there are two different types of IUDs: hormonal and copper IUDs. 

How do they work?

According to the American Association of Reproductive Health, hormonal IUDs work by first releasing an artificial version of progesterone into a woman's body, called progestin. Because progestin is increased when a woman is pregnant, the hormone acts to mimic pregnancy in the body, causing the ovaries to stop releasing eggs. The hormones also thickens mucus in the cervix to stop sperm from reaching the egg. As a third and final form of contraception, the lining of the uterus also is thickened, preventing implantation in the uterus if an egg happens to get fertilized. 

Copper IUDs, on the other hand, don't release hormones, but act primarily as a sperm repellant. Copper is a natural antimicrobial and as such, repels the sperm. The repellent effects of the copper may also repel an egg if it happens to get fertilized, which is why it can be prescribed as an emergency contraceptive as well. 

What are the benefits of IUDs?

Obviously, IUDs are convenient–there are no pills to take and they can be conducive to a more spontaneous sex life. They are also touted as highly effective, with less than 1 in 100 women getting pregnant with proper IUD use. They also can remain in place for several  years at a time and if you make the decision to have another baby, can be removed easily with no downtime to start trying to conceive again. 

What are the drawbacks to IUDS?

The most common complaint I came across from IUD users were the side effects of heavy bleeding, cramping, and pain. But the complaint that worried me the most were the noted dangers with copper IUDs in particular–especially in what happens if you get pregnant on the IUD. Almost everyone I talked to, including my doctor, had a horror story about women getting pregnant on the IUD and how dangerous it can be, for both her and her baby. Many times, removing the IUD if a woman gets pregnant could abort the fetus and/or lead to bleeding to the mother, so it's left in, but that's also a danger that can lead to shock, sepsis, and death. 

And after I read the official pamphlet that came with the IUD brochure, I decided an IUD was not going to be in my future. I wasn't comfortable with the thought of having a device in my body all of the time, especially because it requires checks to make sure it's in place and knowing how fertile I am, it would be just my luck to get pregnant on it. 

I'm glad I took the time to look into all of the options and while the sound of a convenient, hassle-free birth control definitely sounded appealing, ultimately, an IUD was not for me. 

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How about you? Do you use an IUD? 

What do you think?

Why An IUD Wasn’t Right For Me

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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9 comments

  1. Profile photo of Arielle Arielle says:

    I had the Mirena for 4 years. I had it taken out because it made my hands and fingertips peel for no reason to the point they were raw. The outside of my palms looked like leapord spots. And working at a clothing store I would poke myself with the sensor tag sometimes and talk about pain with raw fingertips. Haven’t had the problem since it’s been gone.

  2. Profile photo of Crystal Crystal says:

    I got an IUD after my second son. I had it in for a while and started experiencing very bad pain. The pain was hard cramping and could be compared to labor pains. I went to the doctor and they told me i was part of the 1% of women that go through this. I had to get it taken out for they did not know if i had an infection or what. I couldnt stand it any longer. After getting it removed i got pregnant with my third son shortly after. Then i had a misscarrage with my next. Then to get pregnant with my fourth son. Im not sure what to try next.

  3. Profile photo of Ariel Ariel says:

    I had a copper IUD. I had it placed after my first child was born. The only complication I experienced with it was pain/bloating. Besides the pain and bloating, it was only in place for about a year and a half before I got pregnant. I had never heard of this IUD failing, but to my surprise it did! They removed the IUD right away and informed me I was likely to miscarry. Now I have a healthy active 4 year old son. I never thought I would be the parent that would teach abstinence is the only answer, but now I am living proof that it is. I thank God every day for my little miracle man.

  4. Profile photo of Tara Tara says:

    Mine fell out after I’d only had it in for 6 months. They call this “expulsion” and it’s supposed to be rare but I know several people who also had this happen! As well as one close friend who it embedded in her uterus and another who had it puncture through her uterus. Ouch! Not for me anymore.

  5. Profile photo of Gerard Gerard says:

    I had mine inserted after 4th child. Had it in the entire 5 years.( the one with hormones) Net had any issues. Actually stopped getting my period all together. Had it removed after the 5 years and was pregnant in a month. After this one I am done and I’m not comfortable with tiring my tubes so I’ll be getting another IUD.

  6. Profile photo of Alison Alison says:

    I had the hormone free IUD put in last July (2013). It was incredibly painful, and even the woman who put it in said that it can be considered more painful than childbirth in many women. I had a lot of scares with it, where I couldn’t find the string and had painful cramping. It worked great as birth control, and once I had it removed (Feb 2014), I got pregnant within a month. As much as I found it to be the best hormone-free birth control, I don’t think I will get another one after the baby is born. Quite frankly, they scare the crap out of me now. Since I definitely want more children down the road, I’m afraid to take any risks that might hurt that possibility.

  7. Profile photo of holly holly says:

    I had a copper IUD put in after my second child and I hated it!!! I was so excited their was something available other than birth control pills that I jumped at the opportunity to get an IUD. (After my first child birth control pills ran havoc on my hormones) The placement of the IUD was painless, I left the doctors felling pretty good. Then the trouble started! I started getting heavy, heavy, heavy periods. I would have to wear super tampons with pads and I was getting huge clotts. Sorry for the graphics just want the readers to get an honest outlook on my experience with an IUD. I started to get horrible cramping, very similar to uterine contractions giving birth!!! I then started getting pain and uncomfrotabeness down their and sex was painful. after nine months of putting up with the stupid thing I had it removed, which was also painless. My doctor was concerned I had developed an infection, but I hadn’t. He could not explain my discomfort, but everything went back to normal once it was out. Everyone has a different experience with it, my friend loves hers. She did say though that it was uncomfortable getting it put in (she has not had children yet). Personally I will never try one again.

  8. Profile photo of Austin Austin says:

    I know they’re not for everyone, but good lord I love mine! I had one put in when my husband and I started dating, took it out when we were TTC, 3 months later I was pregnant, and had another put back in 8 weeks after delivery. I’ve had maybe 5 periods in 5 years. I just love it!

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