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What Can I Expect When Getting an IUD?

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a type of birth control that your doctor inserts into your uterus to avoid unintended pregnancies. It's a very successful long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) that can prevent pregnancy for several years at a time.

Although the device is highly effective, you may have some reservations about IUD placement. However, it's a straightforward procedure that Dr. Inga Zilberstein provides at her office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City.

Dr. Zilberstein is a board-certified OB/GYN. She and her women's health team offer IUDs among various forms of birth control and also focus on patient education to ensure you have all of the information you need to prepare for your IUD appointment.

What is an IUD?

The IUD is small and shaped like a T. When placed properly inside your uterus, it’s one of the most effective forms of reversible birth control. There are two types of IUDs – hormonal IUDs and copper IUDs. 

Hormonal IUDs release progestin, which thickens the cervical mucus and thins the wall of your uterus to prevent implantation. Some prevent ovulation; without an egg to fertilize, you can't get pregnant. The copper IUD essentially kills sperm as they enter the cervix and uterus, preventing pregnancy because they can't get to the egg.

Both forms of IUDs are over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy and are suitable for several years after insertion. Most women get 3-12 years of birth control from an IUD, depending on the type.

Considering an IUD

It's essential that you speak with Dr. Zilberstein about any concerns you may have and your past medical history. During your initial appointment, she asks you about your medications and gets information on your regular menstrual cycles. You may not be able to get an IUD if:

You should also discuss your pregnancy plans before deciding on an IUD. If you're thinking about having kids within the next year or so, an IUD might not be the best choice for birth control even though it’s reversible.

What to expect during IUD placement

There's only a little preparation that goes into getting an IUD, and you can have it inserted anytime during your menstrual cycle as long as you’re not pregnant. Make sure you’ve eaten something before the procedure, and consider taking an over-the-counter pain reliever about 30-60 minutes beforehand.

In a relatively quick appointment, Dr. Zilberstein makes sure you're comfortable before proceeding. If you're worried about pain or discomfort, she can offer a numbing cream. 

You lie on the table and put your feet into stirrups as you do during a pelvic exam. Dr. Zilberstein inserts a speculum into your vagina and uses a special tool to insert the IUD past the cervix and into the uterus. The entire procedure takes about five minutes.

Some patients report slight pain or mild cramping during IUD placement, but it usually only lasts for a few minutes. Some women feel faint or lightheaded right after the insertion, so it's vital to bring someone along just in case you feel unwell.

Most women feel fine after an IUD insertion, but it's always a good idea to assume you're going to take the rest of the day to relax after an IUD insertion. 

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Zilberstein, call or text the office. You can also request a consultation online.

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