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.

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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.

How do I plan for success with the Copper T IUD?

Most women have changes in their periods. It’s a good idea to plan for it! Ask yourself:

  1. How will I deal with heavier or longer periods? Maxi-pads? More absorbent tampons? More supplies on hand?
  2. How will I take care of more cramping, if I have it? Pain reliever? Warm baths? What else?
  3. 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!

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Making the Copper T IUD Work for You

There are things you can do to make the Copper T IUD work for you. Find out ways to be successful with the Copper T IUD. Click here to learn more.