It’s not an exaggeration to say that we have more contraception options than ever before. You can choose between patches, pills, implants, condoms, shots, and even apps that help to ensure your sexual behavior doesn’t have to turn into reproduction.
While there are many new forms of contraception in development or nearly ready to hit the market, a type of birth control that emerged in the 1970s is currently experiencing a huge boost in popularity. Intrauterine devices (IUD) are starting to gain more traction. In 2002, only 1.5% of women selected IUDs; by 2015, that figure was up to 12% of women. A look into IUD basics and trends in family planning may show why IUDs are all the rage.
Are you thinking about changing your birth control or wanting to explore options for long-term family planning? If so, come see the team at The Women’s Specialists of Fayette.
What is an IUD?
An IUD is a small, T-shaped device placed inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. The top of an IUD sits at the top of the uterus. A small string extends below the IUD into the cervix. There are two types of IUDs, but both do their work by preventing sperm from reaching and fertilizing eggs.
Type of IUDs
There are currently two kinds of IUDs. Hormonal IUDs are sold under the names Mirena®, Kyleena®, Liletta®, and Skyla®. The copper IUD is called Paragard®.
The copper IUD has a small amount of copper wrapped around the arms and body of the device. Sperm cells basically don’t like copper; the metal changes the way sperm cells move so they can’t swim to an egg. Paragard has an extra benefit: It can be used as an emergency contraceptive, because it’s 99.9% effective at preventing a pregnancy if inserted within five days of unprotected intercourse.
Hormonal IUDs perform two functions to stop pregnancy from occurring. They release levonorgestrel, a type of progestin hormone, which thickens mucus in the cervix to stop sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg. The hormone also may stop eggs from leaving your ovaries and thins the lining of the uterus, which makes the environment inhospitable to sperm.
IUDs are extremely effective at preventing pregnancy. The US Department of Health & Human Services has found that fewer than 1 in every 100 women using IUDs become pregnant. That’s better than condoms, the pill, patches, the contraceptive ring, and the shot.
Overall, American women are waiting longer to have children. In 2016, women from 30-34 had more children per 100,000 than women 25-29. The average age when women have their first child is now 28 — compared with 24.6 in 1970. As women delay having children, IUDs are the perfect solution. Hormonal IUDs last 3-7 years, and the copper IUD can prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years.
Open to change
When a woman is ready to try to conceive, IUDs make it easy. After having a doctor or nurse remove the IUD, conception can happen almost immediately. The average couple takes 4-6 months to conceive after removal, and 85-90% achieve pregnancy after one year.
IUDs offer some of the best flexibility, protection, and safety of any contraceptive. The team at The Women’s Specialists of Fayette can help determine if an IUD is right for you. Call our Fayetteville, Georgia, office or book an appointment online today.