Getting Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives at PPLM: What to expect


Your first step is to schedule an appointment with PPLM: just call 877-686-5772 or request an appointment online. Same-day appointments are often available – no more waiting for weeks to see your OB/GYN. (The average wait time to see an OB/GYN in Massachusetts is 41 days!) We have highly trained staff at all our health centers who are able to provide you with an IUD or implant.

For an IUD, the ideal insertion time is during your menstrual period or during your placebo week (if you use a hormonal method), but it is possible to insert the IUD at other times in your cycle if you have been on a reliable birth control method since your last period.

If you have questions about these methods and aren’t sure which one is right from you, call our Sexual Health Counseling and Referral Hotline at 617-616-1616 to discuss your options.

Before Your Appointment

In the time leading up to your appointment for an IUD or contraceptive implant, you should keep using your current birth control and not have unprotected sex. If you are getting an IUD, you should be well fed and hydrated on the day of your appointment. It may help to take medication for pain about an hour before you come in for an IUD; ibuprofen is a good choice if this is a medication you tolerate well. You will receive more details about preparation when you schedule your appointment.

During Your Appointment

Once you’ve checked in for your appointment, you may be asked to provide a urine sample to determine if you’re pregnant. At your appointment you will also receive an STI test for chlamydia and gonorrhea. A clinic assistant will first sit down with you to take your vital signs, go over the birth control method you’ve chosen, and obtain your consent for the procedure. This will take about 5-10 minutes. Then the clinician will visit with you for the insertion procedure.

  • IUD insertion: The entire insertion procedure often takes less than 10 minutes, starting from a physical exam and ending with the insertion. This procedure can be painful when the clinician measures the uterus and inserts the IUD, more so for women who have never been pregnant, but light to mild cramping is the most common side effect. In rare cases, additional measures can be taken for women who experience more pain.
  • Contraceptive implant: The insertion procedure for an implant takes only 5-10 minutes and the insertion itself takes only 15 seconds. Your arm will be numbed with local anesthesia similar to what you might get at the dentist and the device is implanted just under the skin so that it’s usually not visible but you can feel it in your arm. A cut only the size of a sesame seed is needed for the insertion.

After Your Appointment

Once your IUD is in place, you will likely experience cramps or backache for a few days. With the Mirena IUD you may experience spotting for the first 3-6 months and with the ParaGard IUD you may have heavier, more crampy periods. You will learn more about possible side effects at your appointment. Most people go back to their normal activities after their appointment while others may choose to rest. An appointment isn’t required for follow up unless you have unusual symptoms. You will be taught how to check for the strings that hang from an IUD into your vagina to make sure it remains in place.

After getting a contraceptive implant, you may feel nothing or may feel a little soreness at the insertion spot and no follow up appointment is needed.

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