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Inserting an IUCD

3-minute read

This page will give you information about inserting an IUCD. If you have any questions, ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

You can also download and print a PDF version of this factsheet, with space for your own questions or notes.

What is an IUCD?

A coil or intra-uterine contraceptive device (IUCD) is a T-shaped implant made of plastic and copper that is placed in your uterus (womb) to prevent you from becoming pregnant.

An IUCD is a non-permanent (reversible) method of female contraception. Your doctor can remove it at any time you choose.

What are the benefits of an IUCD?

You or your partner should not need to use another method of contraception while the IUCD is in place.

Are there any alternatives to an IUCD?

Illustration showing inserting an IUCD in the womb.
An IUCD in the womb.

There are other non-permanent methods of female contraception such as hormone implants and the oral contraceptive pill.

A sterilisation is a permanent method of female contraception.

The only safe, non-permanent method of male contraception is to use a condom but the risk of failure is higher.

A vasectomy is a permanent method of male contraception.

What does the procedure involve?

Inserting an IUCD usually takes about 10 minutes.

Your doctor will insert a speculum (the same instrument used for a smear test) into your vagina. They may clean your vagina and cervix with an antiseptic solution.

Your doctor will place the IUCD inside your womb. They will cut the strings used to remove the IUCD.

What complications can happen?

  • allergic reaction
  • cervical shock, where your heart rate slows down
  • lost strings, if your doctor cannot feel or see the strings at the top of your vagina
  • lost IUCD
  • making a hole in your womb
  • infection
  • increase in period pain and bleeding
  • pregnancy problems, if you become pregnant with the IUCD in place

How soon will I recover?

After a short while you will be able to go home.

You will have some vaginal bleeding and mild cramping that should last for only a few days as your body gets used to the IUCD.

You should be able to return to work and normal activities the day after your procedure.

Regular exercise should improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Summary

An IUCD is an implant that is placed in your womb to prevent you from becoming pregnant. It is usually a safe and effective non-permanent method of female contraception.

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Last reviewed: September 2018

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