Copper T IUD
Interested in using the Copper T IUD (ParaGard®)?
This webpage can help you be prepared. When you know what to expect, you can plan for success. You can be confident in your choice of birth control method.
Here are the basics you should know about it:
What is the Copper T IUD?
- It’s a small flexible piece of plastic that a health care provider puts in the woman’s uterus.
- It is shaped like a T and is wrapped with a thin copper wire.
How long can I use it?
- You can use the Copper T for up to 12 years.
- You can ask the health care provider to take it out any time.
How does it work?
The Copper T prevents a woman from getting pregnant in two ways:
- It makes the fluid in her cervix thick and sticky. This keeps a man’s sperm from getting inside her uterus and meeting an egg.
- The copper wire also kills sperm! If the sperm can’t meet the egg or are killed, she can’t get pregnant.
How well does it work?
- The Copper T is great at preventing pregnancy.
- If 1,000 women used the Copper T for a year, only 8 might get pregnant. That’s less than 1%!
Do I need to do anything to make it work better?
- No! Once it’s in, you don’t need to do anything else to prevent pregnancy.
How is the Copper T IUD put in?
A trained health care provider will put the Copper T into your uterus.
- The health care provider will use a small tube, like a straw, to gently place the Copper T through your cervix into the uterus.
- Some women have cramping when it is put in. Your health care provider may tell you to take Motrin® ahead of time.
- There may be some cramping for a few days afterwards. This is normal and it will go away. You can take Motrin®for the discomfort. Some women may feel better with a warm bath.
- If it still hurts after a few days, call your health care provider.
What do women like about the Copper T IUD?
- It lasts for 12 years.
- It’s easy to use.
- No one can tell you’re using it.
What side effects does it have?
- Most likely you’ll have changes in your periods.
- Some women have heavier periods or periods that last longer.
- Most women have more cramping with their periods.
Most women have changes in their periods. It’s a good idea to plan for it! Ask yourself:
- How will I deal with heavier or longer periods? Maxi-pads? More absorbent tampons? More supplies on hand?
- How will I take care of more cramping, if I have it? Pain reliever? Warm baths? What else?
- How will I protect myself from sexually transmitted diseases?
All around the world, more women use the Copper T than any other birth control method. Think about whether the Copper T would work for you!
If you do choose to use the Copper T, you’ll be prepared and know what to expect.
Download this information as the Copper T IUD Fact Sheet PDF. Know that you’ve chosen a method that is safe, effective, and easy to use!