The IUD is very safe for most people. Here's how to figure out if the IUD is safe for you.

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Can I get an IUD?

Most people can use IUDs safely, but there are some conditions that make side effects or complications more likely. Talk to your nurse or doctor to find out if IUDs are safe for you.

You shouldn't get any kind of IUD if you

  • have or might have an STD or other pelvic infection

  • think you might be pregnant

  • have cervical cancer that hasn't been treated

  • have cancer of the uterus

  • have vaginal bleeding that’s not your period

  • have had a pelvic infection after either childbirth or an abortion in the past 3 months

You also shouldn't get a ParaGard IUD if you have a copper allergy, Wilson's Disease, or a bleeding disorder that makes it hard for your blood to clot.  And you shouldn't get a hormonal IUD if you have had breast cancer.

Very rarely, the size or shape of someone’s uterus makes it hard to place an IUD correctly.

If you have a condition that rules out an IUD for you, don’t worry. You’ve got lots of other birth control options.

What are the risks of an IUD?

There are possible risks with an IUD, but serious problems are really rare.

The IUD can sometimes slip out of the uterus — it can come all the way out or just a little bit. If this happens, you can get pregnant. If the IUD only comes out part of the way, it has to be removed.

It is possible — though extremely unlikely — to get pregnant even if the IUD is in the right spot. If you get pregnant, you should have the IUD removed as soon as you find out. If you get pregnant with an IUD in place, there’s an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and other serious health problems.

It’s possible to get an infection if bacteria get into the uterus when the IUD is inserted. If the infection isn't treated, it may affect your chances of getting pregnant in the future.

When the IUD is put in, it could push through the wall of the uterus. This sounds painful, but it usually doesn't hurt. But if this happens, you could need surgery to remove the IUD. This is very rare.

What warning signs should I know about?

Chances are that you’ll have no problems with your IUD. But it's still important to pay attention to your body and how you feel after you get your IUD. Here are the warning signs to watch out for. Call your nurse or doctor right away if:

  • the length of your IUD string feels shorter or longer than it was

  • you can feel the hard plastic bottom of the IUD coming out through your cervix

  • you think you might be pregnant

  • you have bad cramping, pain, or soreness in your lower belly or stomach

  • there’s pain or bleeding during sex

  • you get unexplained fever, chills, or have trouble breathing

  • your vaginal discharge is different than normal

  • you have vaginal bleeding that is heavier than usual

If you have unprotected sex with someone who has an STD, see your nurse or doctor for any tests or treatments you may need.

Is it safe to use the IUD while breastfeeding?

Yes, it’s safe to use the IUD while you’re breastfeeding.  It shouldn’t have any effect on how much milk you produce, and it won’t hurt your baby. In fact, the IUD is a great method to use if you’re breastfeeding and you don’t want to get pregnant.

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IUD

  • 99% effective

  • Costs up to $1,000, but can be $0

  • Put in by a doctor or nurse

  • Lasts up to 12 years

This IUD doesn’t protect you from STDs. Use a condom with your IUD to help stop pregnancy and STDs.
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