I recently got the ParaGard IUD and IT’S THE BEST. Why? Because it’s a “set it and forget it” birth control method — no remembering to take a pill or change a patch, no room for error. And those little T-shaped miracle workers can prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years. (Of course, you can have it taken out whenever if you decide it’s go-time for a family or want to switch to a different method.)
Here’s how my IUD and me came to be:
1. I made an appointment with my gyno to talk about whether ParaGard was right for me. While I was there, my doc did a vaginal swab to test me for gonorrhea and chlamydia.
2. When I decided 100% that I wanted that little copper sperm blocker, I called my insurance company to see what was covered and how much I would have to pay out of pocket (spoiler alert: $0 — thanks Obamacare!).
3. When I got my period, I called my gyno and scheduled my appointment for the next day. (Some docs want you to have your period when they put it in because the cervix is dilated more when you’re menstruating).
4. The night before my procedure, I vaginally inserted a prescription cervix-dilating pill before hitting the hay.
5. When I arrived at my gyno’s office, I took a quick pregnancy test. It was negative, so operation IUD was officially on.
6. Time to get down to business: First, my doctor measured my uterus. Anytime anything goes past your cervix, you’re going to feel a cramp. Not gonna lie, it was intense. But I breathed through it, preoccupied by the knowledge that my uterus is 7 inches long (fun fact).
7. My doctor inserted the ParaGard, cut the strings, and BAM. My uterus is a no-fly zone. The whole insertion took less than five minutes. I did have some cramping throughout the rest of the day, but I was good to go the next morning.
Since getting the ParaGard, I’ve noticed that my periods are heavier with more cramping than I’m used to. My periods also last maybe a day or two longer, but this is totally normal. My doc said that after about three months, my period should return to normal. And let’s be real — a few crampy periods are a great trade off for 12 years of worry-free living. My uterus couldn’t be happier with this brand spanking new toy.
In a few weeks I’ll go back in for a follow up appointment to make sure the ParaGard is still there and in the right place. After that, they’ll check it at my yearly gyno exam.
If you want to get an IUD and you’re worried about cost, fear not! Obamacare means you get free preventive care that includes birth control through your insurance. My $950 IUD+my $40 copay = totally free.
Word of advice? Don’t forget the condoms! Yeah IUDs are 99% effective against pregnancy, but they’re 0% effective at preventing STDs. So condoms + my IUD = healthy me.
Want to get your own IUD? Get more info here, and then contact your local Planned Parenthood health center to set up an appointment.
—Chelsea at Planned Parenthood