Intrauterine Device Insertion
(IUD Insertion; Copper IUD Insertion; Hormone-releasing IUD Insertion)
How to Say It: in-trah-U-tah-rin dee-vice in-sur-shun
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
An intrauterine device (IUD) is inserted in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are 2 types:
Most women can become pregnant when the device is removed.
Reasons for Procedure
An IUD is inserted to prevent pregnancy. The hormone-releasing IUD may also help to treat:
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
There is a chance that you can get pregnant with IUD. This may cause problems, such as miscarriage, premature labor, or delivery. The fetus may also develop outside the uterus. This is called an ectopic pregnancy.
IUDs are safe for most women. A history of certain infections or illnesses may raise the risk of problems. IUDs may also not be safe for women with certain cancers, such as cervical, liver, or breast cancer.
A copper IUD may not be a good choice for women with:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
The health team may meet with you to talk about:
Anesthesia is often not needed. The doctor may use local anesthesia. The area will be numb.
Description of the Procedure
You will lie on an exam table with your feet in footrests. A tool will be inserted into the vagina to make space. The cervix and vagina will be cleaned.
The T-shaped IUD will be folded and placed into a tube. The tube will be passed through the vagina to the uterus. The IUD will be released in the uterus. This may cause some cramping or pain. The IUD will open and sit in the upper part of the uterus. A thin string will hang down from the device into the vagina. The tube and tools will be removed.
How Long Will It Take?
It will take about 5 minutes to insert.
Will It Hurt?
You may feel cramping for 3 to 6 months. Bleeding may also be irregular. Medicine and home care can help.
At the Care Center
You can leave once you are ready.
It may take 3 to 6 months for cramping and spotting to stop. Copper IUDs will work right away. Hormonal IUDs may take some time before they work. Other forms of birth control should be used until the IUD takes effect.
Call Your Doctor
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
Office on Women's Health
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Women's Health Matters
Committee on Practice Bulletins-Gynecology, Long-Acting Reversible Contraception Work Group. Practice Bulletin No. 186: Long-Acting Reversible Contraception: Implants and Intrauterine Devices. Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Nov;130(5):e251-e269
Intrauterine device. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/device/intrauterine-device-iud. Accessed August 6, 2020.
Intrauterine device. US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: https://www.hhs.gov/opa/pregnancy-prevention/birth-control-methods/iud/index.html. Accessed August 6, 2020.
IUD. Planned Parenthood website. Available at:
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Accessed August 6, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 2/24/2021
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