What is an IUD?

An IUD is a small, sterile flexible T-shaped piece of plastic that is about an inch and a half long.  It is placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy.

Maine Family Planning offers four types of IUDs: Paragard, Mirena, Liletta, and Skyla.

All four IUDs are 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy, must be inserted and removed by a medical provider, and won’t be felt by you or your partner. It’s important to remember that IUDs do not protect against HIV or other STDs.

About Paragard~

  • May be safely left in for up to 12 years.
  • Paragard is made of copper and is completely hormone-free.
  • May cause cramps and heavy periods for some people.

About Mirena~

  • May be safely left in for at least 5 years.
  • Can provide relief for people who experience heavy periods, bad cramps, and PMS. Some people stop having periods or experience very light periods.
  • Mirena is made of plastic and releases a small amount of hormone (about 20 micrograms per day).

About Liletta~

  • May be safely left in for at least 3 years (this may be extended in the future).
  • Can provide relief for people who experience heavy periods, bad cramps, and PMS. Some people stop having periods or experience very light periods.
  • Liletta is made of plastic and releases a small amount of hormone (about 19 micrograms per day).
  • Liletta could be a good option for people without insurance; contact your local Family Planning clinic for more information about cost.

About Skyla~

  • Skyla is slightly smaller than other IUDs and can be safely left in for up to 3 years.
  • Can provide relief for people who experience heavy periods, bad cramps, and PMS. Some people experience very light periods, though the chances of having no period at all are lower than with Mirena and Liletta.
  • Skyla is made of plastic and releases a small amount of hormone (about 14 micrograms per day).

Who uses the IUD?

Any woman without certain preexisting conditions can use an IUD.  If you have questions, you should make an appointment at your local family planning clinic to see if an IUD is a good option for you.

How do I use the IUD?

The IUD is placed into your uterus by a health professional.  It is then left in the body and you do not have to worry about taking a pill or using other methods to prevent pregnancy.

Where do I get the IUD?

You can get an IUD at your local Family Planning clinic.

How effective is the IUD?

The IUD is a very effective form of birth control.  It is about 99% percent effective–meaning that if 100 women use the IUD, only one woman would become pregnant.

Does the IUD protect against STDs?

An IUD does not protect against STDs. You should also use a condom with this method.

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