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Intra Uterine Device (IUD)

The Intra Uterine Device (IUD) is a type of contraception. It goes inside your uterus. 

  • It's more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • It works for three, five or 10 years depending on the type of IUD.
  • You don’t need to do anything after it's put in (inserted). It's 'fit and forget’ contraception.  
  • There are two types of IUD: one with hormones, one without hormones.
  • Your period is likely to change. There might be more or less bleeding depending on whether the IUD contains hormones or not.

Watch our video to see if an IUD is right for you. 

If you haven't decided you want an IUD, read our 'Getting your IUD' page. 

If you want your IUD removed, read our 'Having your IUD removed' page.

WHAT IS AN IUD?

An IUD is a small object that goes inside your uterus.

There are two types of IUDs:

  • Copper IUD - contains copper, a type of metal.
  • Hormonal IUD – contains the hormone progestogen (Mirena or Jaydess).

Intra uterine device or IUDHOW DOES IT WORK?

The hormones or the copper stop the sperm reaching the egg. Sometimes, sperm does reach the egg (fertilisation) so the IUD stops the egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus.

HOW WELL DOES IT WORK?

Copper and hormonal IUDs are at least 99% effective. Only 1 in 100 people will get pregnant each year.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The IUD is free for New Zealand citizens and residents, but you may need to pay a $5 prescription fee. 

See information about our clinic fees.  

WHAT WILL I NOTICE?

Most people notice some changes to their period.

With a copper IUD, your periods might be longer, heavier and more painful, especially in the first few months. This usually gets better with time.

With a hormonal IUD (Mirena or Jaydess), you might have spotting in the first few months and then light or no periods.

CAN I GET PREGNANT AFTER THE IUD IS TAKEN OUT?

Yes. You'll be able to get pregnant as soon as the IUD is taken out.

Pregnancy is very rare with an IUD in place. If you do get pregnant with an IUD in, there's no extra risk for your baby, but there is a risk of complication in the pregnancy. It's best to remove the IUD. 

If you think you might be pregnant, talk with your doctor as soon as possible. 

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF AN IUD?

  • Long acting – it lasts for between three and 10 years depending on the type of IUD.
  • Reversible – you can choose to have it taken out at any time. After that, you'll be able to get pregnant 
  • 99% effective – it works very well.
  • You don’t need to think about contraception every day.
  • Doesn't affect breastfeeding.
  • Doesn't get in the way of sex.
  • The copper IUD doesn't contain any hormones.
  • The copper IUD can also be used as emergency contraception.
  • The hormonal IUD has a very small amount of hormones and most people have no side effects from this.
  • The Mirena (IUD with hormones) can help with period bleeding and pain. Most people with a Mirena will have light bleeding or no periods at all.

Studies show that IUDs do not cause pimples, headaches, sore breasts, nausea, mood changes, loss of sex drive or weight gain. There is no evidence of an extra risk of cancer.

WHO CAN GET AN IUD?

Most people can use an IUD, including young people and those who haven't had children.

Hormonal IUDs are a really good option if you have heavy or painful periods. 

If you have an infection, you should get it treated before you get an IUD put in.

If you have heavy or painful periods you should not get a copper IUD because it might make them worse.

HOW LONG CAN I LEAVE MY IUD IN? 

An IUD can stay in place for three, five or 10 years, depending on the type of IUD. When you have it put in, the nurse or doctor will tell you when it will need to be replaced. 

You may be able to keep the IUD longer if you're in your 40s. If you get a copper IUD put in after you turn 40 or a hormonal IUD put in after you turn 45, your IUD may be able to stay in place until menopause. Ask the nurse or doctor if this is an option for you. 

If you want your IUD removed, read our 'Getting your IUD removed' page.

DOES AN IUD PROTECT ME FROM STIS?

No. You need to use condoms (and lubricant) to protect yourself from sexually transmissible infections (STIs). If there is a chance you may have an STI, have a check-up.

HOW DO I GET AN IUD?

Make an appointment at Family Planning.

Read our 'Getting your IUD' page so you feel ready for your appointment. If you have any questions, write them down to ask the nurse or doctor. If you're not sure about whether an IUD is right for you, you may want to book an appointment before the IUD is put in to talk about your options.  

If it's not possible to put in the IUD at your first appointment, another appointment will be made for the IUD to be put in. 

IUD pamphlet

You can order copies of our IUD pamphlet from our online shop.

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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