Before having an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted, you will probably have:
- A pregnancy test, especially if you have not been using an effective method of birth control, have been sexually active in the past month, and are not having your menstrual period at the time of the procedure.
- Testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), because the insertion procedure can carry an infection through the cervix and into the uterus, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Before and during the procedure, the doctor usually:
- Explains the procedure, risks, and benefits of the IUD.
- Gives you a pain reliever, such as ibuprofen.
- Has you lie on the exam table on your back with your feet in stirrups as you would for a pelvic exam or Pap test.
- Inserts a speculum into your vagina and does a pelvic exam to check that you do not have an obvious pelvic infection. The health professional will also check the position of your uterus.
- Swabs your cervix with antiseptic.
- May inject an anesthetic into your cervix.
- Inserts a probe through your cervix to determine how far the IUD should go into your uterus.
- Loads the IUD into the insertion tube, which flattens the arms of the IUD that form the top of the "T."
- Inserts the IUD through your cervix into your uterus.
- Pulls the insertion tube all the way out.
- Trims the IUD string to about 1 in. (2.5 cm) from the cervix.
- Removes the forceps and speculum.
You may have some cramping during the procedure.
Your doctor will ask you to feel the string in your vagina before leaving the exam room so you will know how to check for IUD placement each month after each period.
Current as of: June 16, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Rebecca Sue Uranga