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What can I expect after an IUD insertion procedure?

Many people feel perfectly fine right after they get an IUD, while others need to take it easy for a while. There can be some cramping and backaches, so plan on chilling at home after your appointment — it’s a great excuse to curl up on the couch with your favorite book or movie. Heating pads and over-the-counter pain meds can help ease cramps too.

You may have cramping and spotting after getting an IUD, but this almost always goes away within 3-6 months. Hormonal IUDs eventually make periods lighter and less crampy, and you might stop getting a period at all. On the flip side, copper IUDs may make periods heavier and cramps worse. For some people, this goes away over time. If your IUD is causing you pain, discomfort, or side effects you don’t like, call your doctor.

Once you get the IUD, a string about 1 or 2 inches long will come out of your cervix and into the top of your vagina; don’t worry, you won’t notice it. The string is there so a nurse practitioner or doctor can remove the IUD later. You can feel the string by putting your fingers in your vagina and reaching up toward your cervix. But DON’T tug on the string, because you could move your IUD out of place or pull it out.

There’s a very small chance that your IUD could slip out of place. It can happen any time, but it’s more common during the first 3 months. IUDs are most likely to come out during your period. Check your pads, tampons, or cups to see if it fell out. You can also check your string to make sure it’s still there. If your IUD falls out, you’re NOT protected from pregnancy, so make sure to go see your doctor, and use condoms or another kind of birth control in the meantime.

Remember when you got your IUD (or write it down somewhere), so you’ll know when it needs to be replaced.

How soon after getting an IUD can I have sex?

You can have sex as soon as you want after getting an IUD.

You might need to use a backup method of birth control (like condoms) until the IUD starts to work — whether you’re protected against pregnancy right away depends on what type of IUD you get and when it’s put in.

A copper IUD prevents pregnancy as soon as it’s in place.

Hormonal IUDs (Mirena or Kyleena) only prevent pregnancy right away IF they’re put in during the first 7 days of your period. If you get a hormonal IUD any other time during your cycle, you’re protected after 7 days. In the meantime, use condoms or another kind of birth control to prevent pregnancy.

Source: Planned Parenthood

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