Many women choose to get an IUD (“intrauterine device”) inserted by their doctor as the preferred way to prevent pregnancy. IUDs are a popular contraceptive device because they provide convenient, safe, and effective birth control for many years.
How Do IUDs Work?
The IUD is a small, plastic T-shaped device that your doctor will place in your uterus. It prevents pregnancy by changing the way sperm cells move so they are unable to reach an egg and fertilize it. Some types of IUDs are made to release small amounts of hormones that prevent ovulation or prevent any fertilized egg from implanting itself in the uterus. Once the IUD is placed in your uterus, you will not be able to feel it. The IUD will only be effective if it is in the proper position in your uterus.
Preparing For The IUD Insertion Process
Before the procedure begins, your doctor will examine you to rule out any infections, STDs, or pregnancy. You will probably have to provide a urine sample which will be tested to ensure you are not pregnant.
Some doctors make it a practice to have their patients take Misoprostol before having an IUD inserted. This drug softens the cervix to help with the insertion in women that have had c-sections or have had difficulty with a prior IUD insertion. Your doctor may also recommend that you heat a light meal or snack and drink plenty of water before the appointment. You may also be advised to take a non-prescription pain reliever such as ibuprofen about 30 minutes before the appointment.
The IUD Insertion Process
Having an IUD inserted usually takes less than 30 minutes in your doctor’s office. The process resembles a pelvic examination. Here is what you can expect.
Your Doctor Will Insert a Speculum
You will lie on an examining table with your legs in stirrups. As part of the insertion process, your doctor will do a manual examination to make sure that your pelvic organs are healthy. Then, your doctor will insert a speculum into your vagina to hold it open for the IUD insertion procedure. You may experience some cramping during this process.
Determine The Size and Location Of Your Uterus
Your doctor will measure the location and size of your uterus to determine what size IUD you need.
Use An Antiseptic Agent To Clean Your Cervix And Vagina
To minimize the risk of infection, your doctor will carefully clean your cervix and vagina with an antiseptic liquid.
Position The Alignment Of Your Cervix And Uterus
To properly place the IUD, your doctor must align your cervix with your uterus.
Insert The IUD Applicator Tube And Properly Position The IUD
The next step is to physically insert the IUD. To do that, your doctor will fold the arms of the IUD and place it into a small tube called the applicator tube. The applicator tube will be inserted through your cervix and positioned in your uterus. Once in place, the applicator tube will release the IUD. Its arms will unfold and it will resume its T-shape. At that point, the applicator tube will be removed, leaving the IUD in the proper position.
Trim The IUD Strings
The last step in the insertion process is to trim the strings of the IUD. The IUD is made with strings that hang into your vagina to enable your doctor or healthcare provider to easily remove the device. Your doctor will trim the strings so that only one or two inches hang into your vagina.
Follow Up Examinations
At the end of the insertion procedure, your doctor will schedule you for a follow-up examination in 4 to 6 weeks to make sure the IUD is still in place and that you have not developed any problems with the device. For one week following the insertion procedure, you should refrain from having sex or inserting anything (such as a tampon, douche, or any other object) into your vagina.
Consult With The IUD Experts And Gynecologists At Raleigh Gynecology And Wellness
IUDs are a convenient way to prevent pregnancy over a long period of time. Many types of IUDs are available, and you need to make sure you get the one that best suits your
needs while providing effective contraception. For more information about IUDs and to schedule an appointment, contact the experts at Raleigh Gynecology and Wellness.