Copper IUD (Non-Hormonal)
The Copper IUD, also called the Paragard, doesn’t have hormones. It’s wrapped in a tiny bit of copper, and it protects you from pregnancy for up to 12 years.
Sperm doesn’t like copper, so the Paragard IUD makes it almost impossible for sperm to get to an egg.
Also known as Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta, and Skyla, hormonal IUDs use the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy and can last from 3 to 8 years depending on which one you get.
Progestin prevents pregnancy in two ways: 1) it thickens the mucus that lives on the cervix, which blocks and traps the sperm, and 2) it also sometimes stop eggs from leaving your ovaries (called ovulation), which means there’s no egg for a sperm to fertilize.
How effective are IUDs?
IUDs are one of the best birth control methods out there — more than 99% effective. That means fewer than 1 out of 100 people who use an IUD will get pregnant each year.
IUDs are so effective because there's no chance of making a mistake. You can’t forget to take it (like the pill), or use it incorrectly (like condoms). And you're protected from pregnancy 24/7 for 3 to 12 years, depending on which kind you get. Once your IUD is in place, you can pretty much forget about it until it expires.
Do IUDs work as emergency contraception?
Yes! The Paragard, Mirena, and Liletta IUDs work super well as emergency contraception. If you get one of these IUDs put in within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex, it’s more than 99% effective. It’s actually the most effective way to prevent pregnancy after sex.
Another great thing about using an IUD as emergency contraception: you can keep it and have really effective birth control that you can use for up to 8 to12 years (depending on which kind you get). The other kind of emergency contraception is the morning-after pill.
What if I want to get pregnant in the future?
One of the awesome things about IUDs is that they last for years — but they’re not permanent. If you decide to get pregnant or you just don’t want to have your IUD anymore, your nurse or doctor can quickly and easily take it out. You’re able to get pregnant right after the IUD is removed.
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