How Long to Wait to Have Sex After an IUD

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a type of birth control that’s more than 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. It’s a long-acting, reversible method that can last up to 10 years.

It has two thin plastic strings that hang down into your vagina. Your doctor or nurse will teach you how to feel for them and check that your IUD is still in place.

1. 24 Hours After Insertion

For 24 hours after you have your IUD inserted, abstain from sexual activity. This is because the IUD insertion process involves passing instruments through your vagina, cervix, and uterus, which can disrupt their protective mucous linings. Infection in these areas can be serious and life-threatening.

During the IUD insertion process, the doctor will use a small, thin metal rod called a speculum to create space in your uterus and cervix for the IUD. They will then insert a tube (or slider) with the IUD inside, which they’ll insert through your cervix and into your uterus. Once the IUD is in place, the provider will cut and remove the instrument.

You should not feel any pain during your IUD insertion. However, some women experience cramping for a day or two after insertion. Over-the-counter pain meds and heating pads can help ease these discomforts.

The good news is, it’s very unlikely that sex can dislodge your IUD or move it out of place. But it’s still a good idea to wait for a few days before engaging in any sexual activities, just to be safe.

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The exception is if you have a copper IUD, like ParaGard or Skyla. These can sometimes fall out (called expulsion) for no apparent reason, so it’s a good idea to be extra careful until your gynecologist tells you that it’s fine to play.

2. 7-10 Days After Insertion

IUD insertion is a quick process that takes less than five minutes, barring any complications. You may feel some pinching and cramping as the nurse or doctor inserts the IUD into your uterus, but this will go away relatively quickly. It’s also possible to take over-the-counter ibuprofen to help with any discomfort or pain you experience during the procedure.

If you’re unsure about how to plan your day around the IUD, you can always ask for a friend or family member to come with you and support you during your appointment. They can hold your hand or help you get to the bathroom, if needed, and help with any responsibilities at home that day. They can also keep up with any kids or pets if necessary so you don’t have to worry about them while you’re at the gynecologist.

It’s possible that you may have some bleeding or spotting after your IUD is inserted. This is usually caused by your period or vaginal secretions, and it shouldn’t last long. You should call your healthcare professional if you’re experiencing serious bleeding or any other symptoms that aren’t normal, though.

If you have a ParaGard copper IUD or a hormonal IUD (like Mirena or Liletta) inserted, they begin working as contraceptive protection immediately. However, if you have a hormonal IUD inserted after the first seven days of your menstrual cycle, you’ll need to use a backup method for contraception for another seven days.

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3. Two Weeks After Insertion

It’s possible to have sex while you have an IUD, but you should use backup birth control. This is because IUDs are very effective at preventing pregnancy, but they can fail for a few reasons. For example, they can move out of place.

The IUD insertion process involves passing instruments through your vagina, cervix, and uterus. This disturbs the protective mucous lining of these organs, and it’s important to abstain from sex until after your doctor confirms that the IUD is in place. If you do have sex while your IUD is in place, it’s possible for the sperm to get into your uterus, which can lead to infection and a serious pelvic inflammatory disease.

Some women have cramping or back pain after having an IUD inserted. This usually goes away within a few hours or days. If it doesn’t, a heating pad and over-the-counter pain medication can help.

It’s also possible for the uterus to push out an IUD. This is called IUD expulsion, and it happens in two to 10 percent of cases. It can happen if you had your IUD inserted too soon, if it was inserted incorrectly, or if you have an infection like the flu. If your IUD gets expelled, your doctor will probably recommend using a backup method of birth control until you have it replaced.

4. Four Weeks After Insertion

A woman with an IUD will need to use alternative methods of birth control for a few weeks after insertion. However, the amount of time this will take depends on what type of IUD she has and when she got it inserted. Regardless, it’s important for women with IUDs to use alternative methods of birth control until they are certain that their IUD has taken effect.

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If you are concerned about whether your IUD has become effective, you can ask your doctor at your next appointment or visit a family planning clinic. A doctor will conduct a pelvic examination and check the health and position of your pelvic organs. Then they will recommend the best form of birth control for you. They will take into account the heaviness and regularity of your menstrual cycles, your age, your medical history, and the size and location of your uterus.

IUDs are super-effective forms of birth control that can prevent pregnancy for years. They are 99% effective and are among the most popular forms of birth control. They are also incredibly safe. However, there is a slight risk of infection after an IUD is inserted. Abstaining from sex for 24 hours helps to reduce this risk by preventing the introduction of bacteria into your cervix and uterus.

Some IUDs, such as ParaGard (copper) and the hormonal IUD products Mirena, Skyla, and Kyleena, begin to prevent pregnancy immediately. Other IUDs require one week after insertion before they become effective.

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