Pregnancy with an IUD: Is It Possible?
The effectiveness of intrauterine devices (IUD) reaches 99%, being one of the most effective and popular birth-control methods. However, there is this one little percent to get pregnant, even the IUD. In this article, we will shed light on such questions as what factors increase the risk of getting pregnant with IUD, whether you can preserve pregnancy without removing the contraceptive, and how to protect yourself from unwanted pregnancy. Keep on reading!
Is it Possible to Get Pregnant with Intrauterine Device Inserted?
Despite the high-efficiency rate of intrauterine devices contraception, there is still a chance of getting pregnant. The risk of getting pregnant may increase in the following cases:
- improper contraceptive insertion
- using the IUD after it has expired
- spontaneous expulsion or displacement of the IUD
The most frequent reason is the improper insertion of the contraceptive device into the uterus. IUD should be inserted and removed just by a professional and specially trained medical specialist and in no way by the patient herself. However, even a gynecologist, especially inexperienced, may make a mistake. That is why it is crucial to choose an experienced specialist to have your IUD removed and inserted.
The second reason is when a woman forgets to replace the IUD, and her previous IUD expires. Any intrauterine device, whether it is Mirena, Jaydess, or any other brand, has long-term efficiency to prevent pregnancy (from 3 to even 10 years), so it is so easy to forget it is time to replace it. Copper IUD should be replaced every 3 years, hormonal IUDs - every 7 years. If the patient has forgotten to visit an OB-GYN doctor to renew the contraceptive, it loses its efficiency, and the pregnancy occurs. It may also result in various information processes.
Women are also at an increased risk of getting pregnant if the IUD occasionally displaces. In most cases, it happens without the woman noticing it, leaving the patient unprotected. It may occur as a result of heavy bleeding during menstruation or intense physical activity or frequent constipation.
What Are the Pregnancy Signs when You Have an IUD?
How can a woman know she got pregnant after the IUD failure? Actually, the symptoms do not differ from the ones during normal pregnancy. She can experience:
- swelling and increased sensitivity of the mammary glands;
- delay in menstruation for a week or more;
- increased fatigue;
- nausea and lack of appetite.
You should understand that any of these symptoms can signal the diseases of the digestive or nervous systems, be consequences of stress, avitaminosis, weather changes, weight swings, and so on. So, once you notice some signs, it is better to do a pregnancy test to exclude other possible factors.
What to Do if You Have Suspicions You are Pregnant while Using the IUD for Birth Control?
If you have even the slightest signs that you might have gotten pregnant while using an IUD, you should schedule a visit to the gynecology doctor as soon as possible. If just a few years ago, it was a reason to terminate a pregnancy, modern medicine allows carrying and giving birth to a healthy child without removing the IUD from the uterus. The important is to visit a gynecologist and undergo a medical examination in time.
To diagnose pregnancy and exclude complications, the doctor should prescribe the following tests:
- an analysis for hCG to accurately confirm conception;
- Ultrasound of the pelvic organs, which will help to identify the place of implantation of the ovum and the placement of the IUD.
After receiving the results of the analysis, the doctor will decide whether it is safe to preserve the pregnancy. Unfortunately, ectopic pregnancy is much more frequent for the users of hormonal IUDs, and such pregnancy should be eliminated.
Pregnancy Complications and Consequences while Using Intrauterine System
The presence of the intrauterine device in the womb can greatly complicate the pregnancy time, and the woman should be placed under careful medical control. The pregnant woman should also immediately contact the doctor in case of any suspicious symptoms:
- vaginal bleeding
- cramping/pulling pain in the abdomen
- frequent urinating
Conception with an installed IUD is dangerous because the ovum can be implanted outside the uterine cavity: in the cervix or fallopian tube. In the future, with the growth of the embryo, it may lead to rupture of the organ, severe internal bleeding, and even death. Therefore, it is impossible to maintain an ectopic pregnancy - this is a direct threat to the patient's life.
How to Minimize Chances of Getting Pregnant while Having the IUD?
Intrauterine systems give less than 1% of the possibility to get pregnant. In numbers, actually, just 1 out of 100 women can become pregnant. It is also important to mention that hormonal IUDs are even more effective than copper IUD.
Gynecologist does not totally exclude the probability of getting pregnant even with a correct IUD insertion, but they do not recommend using any additional contraceptives. You can decrease the risk when following the next recommendations:
- visit the OB-GYN doctor every six months. Regular medical examinations will help to check any displacement of the intrauterine contraceptive and prevent pregnancy
- do not exceed the exploitation period recommended by the manufacturer. With time, the device loses its contraceptive properties, and there is a higher risk to get pregnant.
The patient can check the correct placement of the IUD even without the help of a doctor, monitoring the length of the threads. If they became longe or you cannot find them in the vaginal canal, you need immediate medical attention.
Is it Possible to Give Birth Without Removing the IUD?
The decision about whether it is possible to remove the intrauterine contraceptive is made by the obstetrician-gynecologist based on the results of the examination and the woman's well-being. It is important to know that a preserved IUD increases the risk of miscarriage in the first trimester by about 50%. Therefore, if pregnancy is diagnosed at an early stage, it is still better to remove the IUD.
In the second half of pregnancy, there are frequent cases of spontaneous expulsion of the contraceptive, when the fetus, as it grows, displaces it from the uterus. Sometimes the spiral, on the contrary, negatively affects the health of the child, interfering with his full development.
When the pregnancy is intrauterine and the localization of the contraceptive does not interfere with the development of the fetus, the doctor can leave the spiral in the uterine cavity until the very birth. This only applies to metal-containing models. If a woman becomes pregnant with a hormonal intrauterine system, it must be removed as soon as possible, because the components contained in it can cause irreparable harm to the health of the child.
To summarize, pregnancy with an IUD is a special case, the outcome of which is difficult to predict in advance. Therefore, if a woman nevertheless became pregnant with an IUD and decided to keep the child, you must follow all the recommendations of the attending physician and carefully monitor any changes in well-being.