The Pros and Cons of Getting the Paragard IUD

paragard-iud

So…you’re thinking of having a copper T-shaped coil shoved up into your uterus?

Like with most things in life, it’s best to research your options and the pros and cons of those options. All birth control methods have a laundry list of potential positives, negatives and risks. While I haven’t personally experienced some of the con’s (or even the pro’s), I still decided to include them so you know what you’re getting yourself into. 

PROS

  • It’s 99.something percent effective against pregnancy. That’s why you’re wanting this damn thing, right? Sure, there are EXTREMELY rare cases of two pink lines popping up on a stick, but it’s very unlikely to happen. It mainly ever happens due to the IUD slipping out of place or expelling without the user even realizing. The Paragard IUD is good for up to 10-12 years of being a baby barrier. 
  • It’s hormone-free…kinda. Compared to Mirena IUD and other forms of birth control…yes, it is hormone free. However, copper IS released from the IUD and acts as excess estrogen, which can lead to migraines, chronic fatigue, and even bipolar and schizophrenic behaviors.
  • You can breastfeed with it! Most new momma’s cycle doesn’t return til months after birth, but it’s good to know that the Paragard IUD is safe to use while breastfeeding your sweet babe.
  • No maintenance. Once it’s in, you’re good to go. Other than the recommend once a month checking of the wire-like strings, there is nothing else required on your part. I never remembered to take the pill, so this was a good option for me.
  • Cost-effective. My insurance covered most of the cost, but if you plan on having the IUD for longer than 2 years, it is definitely the least expensive birth control option. There’s no monthly costs. I only paid a $200 copay, but some ladies have to pay upwards to $500-1000.
  • It’s discreet. If you don’t like having birth control packages in your purse/cabinet, you might like the Paragard IUD. 

 

CONS

  • Insertion hurts. Especially if you’ve never had a vaginal birth. Insertion did not hurt me at all, but I did have very minor cramping afterwards. I recommend taking an advil prior to your insertion appointment and an advil and a heating pad after.
  • Longer periods. Dear sweet baby Jesus….L-O-N-G. I can expect my periods to last a full week, if not longer. 
  • Heavy periods. Dear sweet baby Jesus…H-E-A-V-Y. I don’t do tampons, and I couldn’t even if I wanted to with this IUD. The first 3-4 days I would go through a pad every hour or two. 
  • Spotting. I never experienced this, but it is normal to spot in between your periods.
  • It can stab him. If your strings weren’t cut short enough, they can stab your partner. It’s not going to cause damage, but it’s enough to visit your OB/GYN to get your strings cut.
  • It can expel. And sometimes, without you even knowing it! This is one of the reasons why it is suggested that you check your strings at least once a month.
  • Lost/tangled strings. This can make removal VERY painful and very stubborn.
  • Post-IUD conception might be tricky. This is really just the roll of the dice. Some ladies conceive within a month of their IUD removal. Some can take 1-2 years. And sadly, some are going through secondary infertility.
  • IT CAN EMBED INTO YOUR UTERUS. Yeah…NOT FUN. Click on that to read all about my stuck Paragard IUD and why I need a hysteroscopy to get it out.

 

Would I recommend it?

That is a loaded question. Up until June 26th 2015, I would have said absolutely – go for it! Now, I’m not so sure. If you value your fertility and know you’re an unlucky gal, no. I won’t have a definite answer til after my IUD is removed on July 20th 2015 (yes, I will post about my hysteroscopy experience) and I’ve successfully conceived.

 

Do you have the Paragard IUD? What was your experience?

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