The intrauterine device has recently gained increased popularity among many women of the reproductive age. Women are not afraid of contraindications and many disadvantages of this method. With regard to unwanted conception, then, in this matter, the intrauterine device also takes a leading position. It has the smallest Pearl index, which indicates its high efficiency. However, it is proved that a woman can get pregnant with IUD in 3 cases out of 100. So, what does one need to know about pregnancy and IUD?
Probability of Getting Pregnant with IUD
The effectiveness of the intrauterine device as a means of protection against unwanted pregnancy reaches 98%. That means that it is still possible to get pregnant. Also the probability of conception increases if the woman isn’t careful enough: if she misses visits to the gynecologist, ignores and does not go to the gynecologist if there is any discomfort and unpleasant sensations in the lower abdomen and during sexual contact.
After all, there is a risk of incorrect installation of the IUD or its partial exit from the uterus.
Also IUD has an expiry date, after which it is required to replace it.
The conclusion is the following: you need to be careful and regularly visit your gynecologist.
The Mechanism of Action of IUD
There are 2 types of intrauterine devices: copper- and hormone-containing devices.
The hormone-containing IUDs are T-shaped plastic devices with an attached capsule with the hormone-progesterone. Its contraceptive effect is in progesterone. It is distributed in small equal doses into the uterine cavity and prevents the fertilization of the egg. As a protection against unwanted pregnancy, this device has proved to be better than copper-containing.
The composition of the copper-containing device can include noble metals (silver and gold). The effect of this device is its influence on the contractile activity of the uterus and fallopian tubes:
- with an increase in the contractile activity of the uterus, the fetal egg is “expelled” at an early stage;
- in connection with a strong contraction of the fallopian tubes, the movement of the fertilized egg into the uterus is accelerated, and the uterus has no time for “maturation” before implantation;
- also increased contractile activity hinders the progress of spermatozoa, which can also interfere with the process of fertilization;
- the metals containing in the device have a so-called “toxic” for sperm effect.
But it may happen that a fertilized egg will still be able to attach itself to the wall of the uterus and begin to develop while a woman does not even suspect it.
Pregnancy and Intrauterine Devices
The intrauterine systems have a very high effectiveness. Still, pregnancy with the IUD installed into the uterine cavity for the purpose of contraception, unfortunately, is possible. Let’s talk about what symptoms a woman using an IUD can notice, how to determine the development of an embryo outside the uterus (which is especially dangerous) and what, in general, a woman should do if the conception did happen, can you save the baby?
Symptoms of Pregnancy
Comparing to taking oral contraceptives (hormonal pills), nothing changes in the female body after installing the intrauterine system (IUD). Ovulation is not blocked, the endometrium is growing, menstruation occurs, sometimes even more abundant than in women using another method of contraception. Can a woman get pregnant with IUD? Yes, it is possible, because IUD gives only mechanical protection – it does not allow the fertilized egg to be implanted into the uterine wall, but this protection can in some cases weaken.
The main symptom of possible conception is the delay in menstruation. In this case, you need to do a pregnancy test and (or) a blood HCG test. And you need to do this in the first days of the delay. Why is it so important to hurry? The fact is that an ectopic pregnancy with an IUD has the same symptoms as an ordinary one. Moreover, it is the ectopic pregnancy that often occurs when the intrauterine system is installed, especially if there are adhesions in the fallopian tubes. By the way, a fertilized egg can begin to develop even not in the fallopian tube, but in the region of the cervix. Both are very dangerous.
Other symptoms of pregnancy in the early stages can be attributed to probable, but not accurate. These symptoms include increase of discharges from the vagina, the increase and soreness of the mammary glands, nausea, vomiting, a slight increase in body temperature.
The signs of pregnancy with IUD are no different from the usual signs of pregnancy
- Morning sickness and dizziness.
- Delayed menstruation.
- Increase in basal temperature.
- Increased persistent drowsiness and fatigue.
- Pain in the lower abdomen.
- Loss of appetite or, conversely, constant hunger.
How to Protect Yourself from Unwanted Pregnancy
No, the talk is not about interrupted sexual intercourse or “chemical” contraception in the form of vaginal suppositories and pills. Every woman with an established IUD should follow simple rules.
Every year visit a gynecologist and do ultrasound of the uterus. Thus, one can learn in time about the displacement of the device or even its loss, which can lead to unplanned conception. Statistics of the onset of pregnancy with IUD is about 3%. That is, in 3 out of 100 women, contraception does not work.
Independently check the length of the strings of the IUD that exit the cervix. If they become longer, it can speak of the displacement of the device into the cervix. The disappearance of the strings may indicate a loss of the device, which, sometimes women don’t notice. In this case, it is necessary to make an ultrasound of the uterus. If the IUD has shifted, it must be removed. If the device fell out – be sure to do a pregnancy test.
Each IUD has its expiration date. Approximately 5 years. After that, it must be removed and, if necessary, replaced with a new one. If this is not done, after some time the IUD will begin to grow into the wall of the uterus and it will become difficult for the doctor to pull it out. Plus, the risk of infection increases dramatically.
What to Do if you Got Pregnant with IUD?
It is natural that only a doctor can confirm or deny the presence of such a pregnancy. If pregnancy is confirmed, the doctor will have two suggestions for you: to save the pregnancy or to interrupt it. And it’s only up to you to decide. Doctors have proved that it is possible to carry the fetus and give birth to an absolutely healthy baby even if you got pregnant with IUD. The main indicator for this is that the uterus did not reject this embryo even in an extreme situation (the presence of the IUD).
According to the recommendations of doctors, the best position for confirming such a pregnancy is waiting. The IUD itself can not harm a small embryo, but when the baby grows up, he/she can push the device out. There are cases when the IUD falls out by itself during pregnancy, somewhere near the middle of the term.
When Should the IUD Be Removed?
At the same time, it is absolutely necessary to remove the device if it is a hormonal IUD. Such devices daily excrete into the uterine cavity a hormone that can enter the bloodstream of the baby. This can be dangerous. Of course, in this case, the removal of the IUD can trigger a spontaneous abortion. Also, there is a threat of miscarriage and various infections when a child is born with an unremoved IUD. Doctors watch over such pregnancies especially careful: such women are more often referred to ultrasound in order to take measures to prevent miscarriage.
Some doctors recommend the removal of the device in case of pregnancy. Though, it is easier to remove the IUD if access to the hanging strings of the device is free. These strings are an open passage for infections, which can be dangerous during pregnancy.
But, in general – pregnancy with a previously installed IUD is quite a normal phenomenon in the practice of gynecologists. The whole process of carrying a fetus doesn’t differ from the course of a normal, standard pregnancy after conception. The only thing that a woman in this case needs to know is control, constant control with special attention from the gynecologist throughout the duration of the pregnancy. Such attentive control will allow preventing any complications in the state of health of a woman and her child in time.
Of course, the probability of miscarriage in this case is higher than in normal pregnancy, therefore it is worth constantly listening to your own organism, to any signals of your body. The IUD provokes microscopic cracks and lesions on the uterine mucosa. Regular gynecological examination and control by the doctor, control by the woman herself is what is necessary for a full-fledged gestation and the birth of a healthy child.