IUDs are the most effective form of birth control for women. This study found that out of 134 women who had an IUD placed, none became pregnant 1 month after IUD placement (0%, 97.5% CI 0-2.7%).
IUDs like Mirena and Paragard prevent pregnancy and heavy periods for up to 8 years, and are highly effective. However, you should still use a backup method of birth control to avoid getting an STI.
1. Don’t worry if you’re experiencing pain
The pain you experience when your IUD is inserted is completely normal.
It happens because your cervix opens up to allow the IUD into your uterus, which causes cramping. It’s the same type of cramping you might get during your period, so it’s nothing to worry about. The discomfort usually lasts a few minutes.
But sometimes your uterus can push the IUD out of your body (AKA IUD expulsion), and this can cause you to feel pain during sex because the strings that connect the bottom of the IUD to the top of your vagina can be felt if you put a finger in there. It’s estimated that this occurs in two to 10 percent of people with IUDs.
To reduce the risk of this, your doctor will clean the front and back parts of your cervix and uterus with an antiseptic solution before inserting Mirena. They will also use a speculum to open your vagina and look at your cervix to make sure it’s in the right place. They may also check your IUD position at your regular doctor’s appointments.
2. You can have sex as soon as you feel comfortable
There’s no reason to delay or postpone sexual intercourse with a partner. If you choose to have sex, it’s important to use backup birth control (like condoms or pills) until after your uterine ring has had a chance to settle in and stabilize.
To insert an IUD, the healthcare professional will cleanse your vagina with an antiseptic solution and then open the cervical canal and uterus using a long-handled instrument called a speculum. The speculum looks like a metal duck beak and helps the healthcare professional see inside your body without using a scope or having to go through your cervix, which could cause damage.
Then they will place the uterus-shaped ring into your uterus. Before they do so, however, they’ll need to confirm that the uterus is deep enough to accommodate the IUD by using ultrasound. This prevents them from perforating your uterus and increases the chance of success.
After the uterus has been successfully placed, you’ll need to wait until your next menstrual cycle before having sex again. This gives the ring a chance to stick and to start working, which ensures that you’re protected against unintended pregnancy.
You can have sex as soon as you feel comfortable, but it’s best to avoid rough sex positions and penetrative sex until after your IUD has settled in. These sex positions can cause the IUD to move, which could leave it in the wrong position and decrease your chances of getting pregnant. It’s also important to make sure you can still feel the strings that run along the outside of your cervix, which indicate that the IUD is in the correct spot.
3. Don’t worry if your partner ejaculates inside of you
If you have an IUD (intrauterine device) you may be worried about how having sex will affect its effectiveness. The two strings that hang from the uterus are designed to extend past your cervix, which means that even during penetrative sex, your partner will likely not feel them.
This is because your vagina secretes cervical mucus, a slippery layer that acts as a buffer between the strings and your penis. Even if you enjoy rough or deep sex, your partner will probably not be able to feel the strings, depending on their size. If they do feel them, it will likely only feel like a tickle.
The good news is that the progestin released by your IUD prevents pregnancy by thinning the uterine lining, making it difficult for an egg to implant, and sometimes preventing ovulation entirely. It’s also more effective at protecting against STIs than oral contraception.
Of course, it’s still a good idea to use a backup method of birth control, particularly before you start having sex. And you’ll want to make sure that the IUD is working before getting pregnant, which will require a visit to your Ob-GYN. However, it’s extremely rare for a hormonal or copper IUD to fall out or move during sex. In addition, the type of IUD you have doesn’t make sex any less safe or desirable.
4. You can enjoy any and all sex positions
One of the best things about intrauterine devices (IUDs) is that they’re 99% effective and don’t interfere with your libido. They’re also super thin and can be easily inserted by your doctor.
IUDs typically come with two thin plastic strings similar to fishing wire that hang down into your vagina. During sex, it’s possible that your partner may feel these strings with their penis, but that’s rare and should not hurt. During your next appointment, your healthcare professional will trim the strings to a shorter length so they’re less noticeable. In addition, the cervical mucus secreted by your cervix acts as a barrier between the strings and your partner’s penis during sex.
While it’s not common, IUDs can occasionally fall out of your uterus. However, it’s extremely unlikely that sex is what causes it. The most common reason for IUD expulsion is a misplaced or incorrectly inserted device.
If you’re worried that your IUD is out of place, try checking the strings or reaching for a tampon. If you experience pain or post-sex bleeding, touch base with your gyno right away. And, if you’re tired of running to the store for birth control, skip the waiting room and pharmacy line and order it from Nurx for free with insurance or $15/month without.