Pregnant With IUD

Pregnant With IUD

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Can You Get Pregnant Despite IUD?

  • Yes, you can get pregnant with an IUD (Copper IUD or Hormonal IUD).
  • The probability of getting pregnant while using an IUD is extremely low, but it is nonetheless possible.
  • Reasons include the IUD slipping out of place, having the IUD in place for too long, and material defects.

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The Probability

It is possible to become pregnant, no matter the type of IUD is used. Below we will explain the causes and probabilities for the following types of IUD:

  • Copper IUD (Paraguard®)
  • Copper Chain (Gynefix®)
  • Copper Ball (IUB)
  • Gold Coil
  • Hormonal IUD (Mirena®, Kyleena®, Jaydess®, Liletta® and Skyla®)
  • Stainless Steel Ring

The likelihood of becoming pregnant despite using contraceptives is rated by the Pearl Index, named after the US biologist Raymund Pearl. The Pearl Index counts the number of women who become pregnant, despite having used a particular method of contraception for twelve consecutive months.

Pregnant Despite Copper IUD

The Pearl Index for the copper IUD is averaged 0.3 to 0.8, which means that, of every 1000 women who use a copper IUD, three to eight women will still become pregnant per year.

Pregnant Despite Copper Chain

The Pearl index for the use of a copper chain is 0.1 to 0.5. One to five women out of 1000 who use a copper chain for contraception still become pregnant.

Pregnant in Spite of Copper Ball

Conclusive studies on the reliability of the copper ball are not yet available. It is assumed that the Pearl Index is similar to that of the copper IUD or the copper chain. According to the manufacturer, the Pearl Index is 0.5 to 0.7, which means that five to seven women in 1000 become pregnant despite using the copper ball.

Pregnant Despite Gold T®

Here the Pearl index is 0.3 - 0.7. This means that three to seven women in 1000 who use a gold coil for contraception still become pregnant.

Pregnant in Spite of Hormonal IUD

The Pearl index for hormonal IUDs is 0.16. This means that one to two out of 1000 women who have a hormonal IUD will nonetheless become pregnant.

Pregnant Despite Stainless Steel Ring (SSR/Chinese Ring)

Stainless steel rings are known to be far less effective than all other IUDs. Therefore, they are no longer in production. Since the SSR stays in place for up to 20 years, some women are still using this method of contraception.

Causes - 4 Possible Reasons

Here are four possible reasons for becoming pregnant despite an IUD:

1. The IUD Had Been in the Uterus for Too Long

Depending on the model, a copper IUD can usually remain in the uterus for three to ten years. By then, the supply of copper ions, which prevent pregnancy by affecting both sperm and uterine lining, is depleted.

The same holds true for the copper chain and the copper ball. Each may remain in the uterus for up to five years, after which they become ineffective.

Depending on the model, hormonal IUDs can remain in the uterus for three to five years. The artificial hormone, progestin, is then used up, and the IUD can no longer affect the sperm or uterine lining.

2. Hormonal or Copper IUD (Copper Chain) Slipped Out of Place

The fit of the IUD can be checked using the removal strings which hang out of the cervix toward the vagina. If the strings are no longer present, the IUD may have slipped too far into the uterus. If the strings are longer than usual, the IUD may have slipped too low.

Copper IUDs slip in 1-3% of cases. Your gynecologist will inspect the position of the IUD during your regular check-ups. If your IUD is not positioned correctly, you may become pregnant.

3. IUD Expelled During Menstruation

Hormonal and copper IUDs (as well as copper chains and copper balls) can be completely expelled during your period, without you even noticing.

The odds of this happening are particularly high in the first few months after the IUD has been inserted: This occurs in 0.5 to 10% of predominantly young women. The likelihood is even greater if the IUD was inserted after giving birth: 12 - 31% of women lose the IUD without noticing it.

If the IUD strings are no longer tangible, or your menstruation is suddenly stronger than usual, your IUD may have come out.

4. Material Defect and Size

Due to material defects, an IUD can break, causing it to no longer be correctly positioned in the uterus.

The doctor also has to select the correct size of the IUD. He determines this according to the uterus's size, shape, and position. If the wrong size of IUD is selected, the IUD may not fit properly. (Note: Not all countries provide smaller sizes.)

Am I Pregnant Despite Having an IUD?

"How do I notice a possible pregnancy despite having an IUD? What are signs of a pregnancy despite an IUD?" Perhaps you are currently asking yourself these exact questions. Maybe your period is overdue despite IUD.

Think about the reasons that make you suspect you are pregnant.

  • 🤢 Are you experiencing typical pregnancy symptoms, despite IUD? It may be a relief to know that even common signs of pregnancy, such as nausea or abdominal stretching, do not necessarily signify a pregnancy.
  • 🩸Is your period overdue even though it is usually on time? This also does not necessarily mean that you are pregnant. More likely than not, the hormonal IUD has interfered with your cycle, causing your menstrual bleeding to become irregular or to cease entirely. Factors such as stress or medication can also impact the sensitive female cycle.
  • 🤒 Ectopic pregnancy*? While you may be pregnant, chances are that it is not viable. The likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy is increased with an IUD, especially when using the hormonal version. Spotting and pain in the abdomen could be indicators of an ectopic pregnancy despite an IUD. Consult your doctor as soon as possible.

*An ectopic pregnancy (aka. tubal pregnancy) is a pregnancy that develops outside the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tube

Three Suggestions:

  1. Take a deep breath! Even if you are pregnant, nothing has to be done immediately. First, take the time to calm down and collect your thoughts.
  2. Take the free Online Pregnancy Test! You will receive an individual assessment of your symptoms and concerns.
  3. Even with an IUD, you can still take a home pregnancy test in order to gain some certainty. The article "How Does a Pregnancy Test Work?" will provide you with information on when and how to take the test.

Unplanned Pregnancy Despite IUD — Now What?

Maybe the news of being pregnant came completely unexpected. After all, you have been using the IUD for years without thinking anything of it. This initial shock can be profound. Thousands of thoughts, unanswered questions and emotions are whirling inside your brain.

Here are four suggestions on how to digest the news and what to do next:

1. 👩‍⚕️ Go to the doctor and have the IUD removed.

If you are pregnant and your IUD is still in place, it needs to be removed by your doctor as soon as possible. Removing the UID avoids complications such as infections. Leaving a hormonal IUD in place may also harm the child or lead to miscarriage.

Whether you decide to keep the baby or not, it is best to have the IUD removed.

Note: Should you choose to keep the baby, know this: Having had an IUD in place during conception does not increase the risk of possible malformations in your baby.

2. 🕰 Take the time you need before making a decision.

It takes some time for the news of an unplanned pregnancy to sink in. Take the time you need for the storm raging inside you to subside and to sort through your thoughts and emotions. By doing so, you can ensure that you choose the path that corresponds to your true desires.

3. 👤 Seek out the support of others.

Your situation is not uncommon. Many women have shared their experiences and fears concerning a pregnancy despite IUD with us. You do not have to face your fears alone!

Seek out a dependable friend or family member whom you can share your considerations and concerns with. This may help you identify your innermost thoughts and emotions and allow you to gain a new perspective. Our desire for you is that this support would free you up to make a decision that is in accordance with who you are.

4. 👩‍💻 Receive support from a counselor.

Feel free to make use of the First Aid Test. While this does not replace person-to-person counseling, it provides you with tools to think through your options and helps you to know that others have walked this road before you.

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Facts About IUDs

Here you can find some interesting facts about the different types of IUDs:

Copper IUD

  • The copper IUD is inserted directly into the uterus by the gynecologist.
  • If something is located inside the uterus, it is called intrauterine. This is why IUDs are called IntraUterine Devices.
  • Copper IUDs are gaining popularity worldwide.
  • The copper IUD is T-shaped and consists of a copper wire and plastic. It does not contain any hormones. The contraceptive effect is due to the release of spermicidal copper ions. Copper ions also affect the uterine lining, preventing the implantation of any fertilized egg.
  • You can check the position of the IUD at any time by the removal strings that extend through the cervix toward the vagina.

Copper Ball (IUB)

  • Because the copper ball is also inserted directly into the uterus by a gynecologist, it is also known as an intrauterine ball (IUB).
  • Like the copper IUD, this is a hormone-free contraceptive.
  • The copper ball consists of a polymer-coated alloy wire threaded with small copper spheres. Upon insertion in the uterus by use of a special device, it takes the original three-dimensional spherical form.
  • The copper ions, which are released, have a spermicidal effect as well as affecting the uterine lining, preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg.

Copper Chain

  • The copper chain, known by the trade name Gynefix®, consists of a nylon string, covered with several small copper sleeves. By means of a special insertion device, the string is fastened to the muscles of the uterine wall by a small knot in order to keep the copper chain in place.
  • The copper chain works just like any copper IUD: the copper ions released by the tubes limit the sperm's fertilizing ability. The uterine wall is affected, preventing the implantation of an egg, should fertilization have occurred.

Gold T®

Strictly speaking, the Gold T® is a copper coil, with a gold core. While the effect is identical to any other copper IUD's, the gold core prevents the copper wire from premature wear and tear, making it more durable.

Hormonal IUD

  • As the name suggests, hormonal IUDs are a type of hormonal contraceptive.
  • A Hormonal IUD is a t-shaped piece of plastic that the gynecologist inserts into the uterus.
  • Hormonal IUDs contain the hormone progestin, which is continuously released into the uterus in small amounts. This causes a thickening of the cervical mucus at the cervix, preventing sperm from passing through. Additionally, sperm cells are inhibited in their ability to move and fertilize. The uterine lining is also thinned, preventing the implantation of a potentially fertilized egg.

Stainless Steel Ring (IUCD, SSR)

  • Stainless steel rings, known as Chinese rings or Shanghai rings, used to form the backbone of birth control in China.
  • The ring is 1” in diameter and does not have a removal string, making its removal difficult, even for a physician. The rationale behind the lack of removal capabilities was the political agenda of the one-child policy in China.
  • The ring is used for post-placental insertion, within ten minutes of the delivery of the placenta, after the birth of the first child.
  • It is estimated that 50,000,000 women have had a ring inserted.
  • Today, copper IUDs are increasingly replacing the stainless steel ring, because of their higher effectivity and lower infection rates.

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FAQs

A pregnancy despite an IUD is very rare but still possible. This can happen if the IUD has shifted, has been expelled without being noticed, or has been in place for too long. Once you find out you are pregnant, have your IUD removed as soon as possible. Keeping it in place could lead to complications such as infection, inflammation, and an increased risk of miscarriage. Even if you are unsure whether to continue the pregnancy, it is still advisable to ask for the removal of the IUD. Caution: The risk of ectopic pregnancy is higher with an IUD in place. If you are experiencing pain or spotting, seek immediate medical attention.

The typical symptoms of pregnancy also apply to pregnancy with an IUD, such as nausea, breast tenderness, or a missed period. If you are experiencing signs of pregnancy, especially if your period is late, take a pregnancy test or see your doctor to gain clarity. For an initial evaluation, take profemina's Online Pregnancy Test. Should you be pregnant while the IUD is still in place, have your doctor remove it as soon as possible. An IUD would increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy and other complications.

Getting pregnant despite an IUD is very rare but not impossible. It can occur if the IUD has slipped, has stayed in the uterus too long, or has fallen out. A woman usually notices a pregnancy by typical pregnancy symptoms, including a missed period. Should you experience light bleeding while pregnant, this is not your menstruation. Rather, the bleeding is most likely triggered by implantation. For more information, go to the profemina article, Period while Pregnant. Note: Seek medical attention if you feel unsure about your symptoms, are experiencing unfamiliar pain, or are spotting. You may be having an ectopic pregnancy, which is more common with IUDs.

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