The ParaGard® intrauterine device (IUD) provides long-term contraception (birth control), designed to prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this completely hormone-free IUD in 1984.
While it’s supposed to provide long-term, effective contraception, it’s not appropriate for everybody. Your doctor might advise against you using ParaGard direct if you:
Have a pelvic inflammatory disease or a pelvic infection.
Have uterine abnormalities like large fibroids that could interfere with the retention or placement of this IUD.
Have unexplained bleeding from your vagina.
Have cervical or uterine cancer.
Have Wilson’s disease or another condition that causes an excess of copper accumulating in your brain, liver or other vital organs.
Are allergic to any element of the copper coil birth control.
Your doctor will discuss these and other reasons why they would be against you using this contraception.
What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant With IUD ParaGard?
Although it’s uncommon for a woman to become pregnant with an IUD, it does happen. The ParaGard pregnancy rate is low, however.
Out of every 100 women, 0.8 percent become pregnant within their first year of IUD use and this risk is highest in your first year following insertion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Cons of Paragard IUD
Along with negative effects, there are also some risks to Paraguard.
There is potential for patients to become harmed. In fact, one patient who had been using the IUD for 8.5 years went to a clinic to have it removed and the copper coil from the IUD’s long portion was missing, according to a report published by the FDA.
It Could Fall Out
While your cervix should effectively hold the intrauterine device in place, it can fall partially or completely out in rare cases.
There’s a higher chance of this occurring if:
You’re under 20 years of age
You have no children
You have uterus fibroids
You had the IUD placed immediately after delivery
You had the IUD placed after you experienced a second-trimester abortion
Your uterus is abnormally shaped or sized
Your IUD has a higher chance of coming out during your menstrual period. You might notice it on a tampon or pad. Periodically feel for the strings. If you notice the strings feel longer or shorter or if it’s pushing against your cervix, it might have shifted. Contact your doctor if this occurs.
If you have an IUD pregnancy, there’s a 50 percent chance you’ll miscarry if you leave the contraception in place. It’s recommended if you become pregnant while using an IUD device, have it removed. But, this only lowers your risk of miscarrying to 25 percent, even after the device is removed. Therefore, your doctor will most likely monitor you carefully if you become pregnant while using it.
You also have a higher risk of tubal or ectopic pregnancy where your fertilized egg remains in your fallopian tubes instead of in your uterus. These types of pregnancies usually result in miscarriage and if so, you should receive treatment immediately to prevent any permanent damage to your reproductive system.
Along with miscarriage, if you leave the copper-based IUD in while pregnant, it can increase your risk of preterm delivery. And, women with this device in place while pregnant may have a higher risk of premature delivery than those without one. You’ll reduce this risk by having it removed, but you won’t completely remove the risk.
There could be an association between becoming pregnant while using this device and developing placental abruption. This is a condition where your placenta detaches from your uterus either before or while you’re in delivery.
There’s a risk you may become infected with an infection, known as chorioamnionitis, when using an IUD. This is an infection of the membranes surrounding the baby and the fluid bathing the baby. It’s a serious infection which can also be life-threatening. Like miscarriage and preterm birth, your risk will go down when you have the device removed, but the risk won’t go away fully.
Negative Effects of IUD
The Intrauterine Copper Contraceptive has some other negative effects, including:
The Potential for Cyst Development
Some women with this IUD do develop ovarian cysts, at least one. While rare, cysts may be painful and you’ll need medical attention.
A common reason women discontinue using the copper-releasing IUD device is menstrual changes. Generally, discontinuation rates for bleeding and pain are at their highest within the first year of using this contraception and become lower from that point on.
Expulsion Following Delivery
Expulsion (ejection) rates are higher after delivery than when the IUD is placed at times not related to delivery. These effects also apply to Mirena,- an alternative to the Paragard IUD.
Fainting and Other Vasovagal Reactions
Some women experience vasovagal reactions right after placement.
Other Negative Effects
Prolonged menstrual flow
Cramping and pain
Partial or complete expulsion
Urticaria allergic skin reaction
If you experience any of these or other serious side effects or cons of ParaGard, while using this device, you could have the right to file a ParaGard lawsuit.
While ParaGard and pregnancy together are rare, becoming pregnant after you have the device removed is not. This is a good thing for many women looking to conceive.
Some physicians suggest you wait for at least three months after you have it removed before trying to conceive to provide your body time to go back to its normal menstrual cycle. However, it’s not medically necessary to wait and you might even become pregnant the month after having it removed. Talk with your doctor to see what’s right for you.