There’s something so utterly freeing when you finally get on birth control. You can now concentrate on your orgasms — as opposed to praying that you won’t get pregnant from that impromptu Sunday morning romp with your partner. So if you’ve decided that you’re going to get an intrauterine device (IUD) to cover all of your birth control bases, you might wonder when you can have sex after getting an IUD.
How Effective Is An IUD?
When it comes to contraception, you can’t go wrong with an IUD. It’s one of the most fool-proof methods of preventing pregnancy, since the IUD has a less than 1% failure rate, according to a PubMed study. Depending on the kind that you get (there are currently five different IUDs on the market), it not only helps stop your sweetie’s swimmers from reaching your egg, but it can also help with heavy menstrual bleeding (or suppress it entirely), as well as alleviate pelvic pain, too.
Depending on the type of IUD you get, you might have birth control protection immediately, or a few days after. “With a copper IUD, they are effective immediately after insertion, since the copper in effect sets up an inflammatory response in the uterus,” Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln tells Romper in an email. “For a hormonal IUD, the device is effective immediately if it’s inserted within seven days of the start of menses; if it's not inserted during this time frame, within seven days post insertion it should be effective.”
How Is An IUD Placed?
Unlike other birth control methods, you’re going to need to schedule an appointment with your health care provider to have your IUD inserted. “An IUD is excellent contraception, but it does need to be placed during an office visit when you know you are not currently pregnant,” Dr. Lauren Demosthenes, MD, an OB/GYN and Senior Medical Director with Babyscripts tells Romper. As for the belief that you need to be on your period in order to insert the IUD? Not true, according to Dr. Demosthenes. “It is an old wives’ tale that the IUD must be inserted during your period,” she says. And there is no evidence that an IUD insertion will be safer or more effective during your period, a second study found.
That said, timing does matter when you opt to get your IUD, particularly if you might be pregnant. “For example, if you ovulated five days ago, you actually may have a fertilized embryo in there and it would not be good to insert an IUD at that time,” Dr. Demosthenes explains. “As long as you and your provider are reasonably sure that you are not pregnant, you may have it inserted any time.”
But Can You Have Sex After Getting An IUD?
Once you have your IUD inserted, you might feel absolute exhilaration knowing that you have a slim-to-none chance of getting knocked up for the foreseeable future. And that might inspire some very sexy sensations, indeed. But having sex after getting an IUD depends entirely on you — and your pain threshold. “There is some cramping associated with it,” explains Dr. Demosthenes. “But most women tolerate it quite well… even teenagers and women who have never been pregnant before.”
Now, apart from some pinching and potential cramping that can occur during the procedure, you may experience other ill effects, too. Some women feel dizzy during an IUD insertion (and ack, a few even faint), according to Planned Parenthood. Your healthcare provider will probably want to monitor you for a few minutes after the procedure to ensure that you’re steady on your feet — and that the room isn’t spinning. While many women feel just fine after getting an IUD, you should plan to chill for the rest of the day if need be, and take some over-the-counter pain meds if necessary. If you decide to have sex, be sure to have backup birth control coverage especially for a hormone-based IUD.
Can You Dislodge Your IUD During Sex?
Now that you know that you have an IUD inside you, it might make you wonder if it can fall out or move out of its spot. Despite your partner’s, ahem, penile perceptions, it’s not possible to displace your IUD during sex. And if you’re worried that you should hold off on sex until your IUD has had time to settle into its new digs, don’t worry. You can still have sex on the day of your IUD insertion, says Dr. Gaither. “It's unlikely that sex will knock out the IUD on the day of placement if it was placed correctly,” says Dr. Gaither.
An IUD is a popular choice when it comes to preventing pregnancy. Be sure to have another birth control alternative just in case. And as for whether you, ahem, want something else inserted inside of you on the day of your IUD insertion is entirely up to you.
Adeyemi-Fowode, O., Bercaw-Pratt, J. “Intrauterine Devices: Effective Contraception with Noncontraceptive Benefits for Adolescents” 2019.
Whiteman, M., Tyler, C., Folger, S., Gaffield, M., Curtis, K. “When can a woman have an intrauterine device inserted? A systematic review” 2013.
Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln
Dr. Lauren Demosthenes, MD, an OB/GYN and Senior Medical Director with Babyscripts