Health and Medical

How to Prepare for IUD Insertion

How to Prepare for IUD Insertion

Approximately 65% of American women use some form of birth control. Choosing a form of birth control method usually involves some experimentation. But if you’re looking for a low-maintenance solution, the intrauterine device (IUD) is a good option.

Around 10% of women choose the IUD as their primary birth control method. Learn about the IUD, how it works, and how to handle the IUD insertion process.

What Is an IUD?

The IUD is a tiny device, shaped like a T, that a gynecologist inserts into the uterus. Your local gynecologist can provide you with either a hormonal or copper IUD.

Hormonal IUDs release a small amount of progestin, the same ingredient found in birth control pills. Copper IUDs are hormone-free and work by creating an uninhabitable environment for sperm. Both types have pros and cons.

Hormonal IUDs are effective for heavy periods, making them lighter. The copper version can have the opposite effect, leading to heavier periods at first. But it lasts longer than the hormonal option, making it more low-maintenance.

Before Your Appointment

Before you insert an IUD, make sure you’re happy with your women’s health services provider. Some gynecologists have more experience with IUD insertion and can make the process less painful. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions before booking your appointment.

An hour before your appointment, take a painkiller like Motrin or Advil. It can make the process smoother and lessen IUD pain during insertion. You should also bring a few sanitary pads because you may experience some bleeding.

During IUD Insertion

Knowing what to expect in the exam room can lessen pre-insertion jitters. The appointment will consist of four steps: an exam, stabilization, measurement, and insertion. Before your gynecologist begins, they will explain each step in detail.

Pelvic Exam

A basic bimanual pelvic exam involves the doctor inserting two fingers into the vagina while feeling the abdomen. The doctor will perform this exam to check the position and size of the uterus. They’ll also feel for tenderness to ensure there’s no infection.

Cervix Stabilization

The gynecologist will insert a speculum and apply an antiseptic solution to reduce the risk of infection. They might also give you the option of a numbing gel to reduce discomfort. A tenaculum will then be inserted to stabilize the cervix.

This process can be nerve-wracking, but it’s vital to stay calm. The more relaxed you remain, the easier the procedure will be. You can practice deep breathing or use distractions like music to relax.

Measuring the Uterus

The next step is measuring your uterine depth to ensure the IUD can sit comfortably. The doctor will use an instrument called a sound or endometrial aspirator. If your uterine depth is between six and nine inches, the insertion is safe to perform.


Insertion should only take a few minutes and feel relatively painless. Some women experience moderate to severe pain, but they account for only 5% of patients. But most women feel cramping for a few days, so take some time to recover and relax!

Choosing the Right Birth Control

IUD insertion can seem like a scary process when you don’t know what to expect. IUD pain is often talked about, but it rarely occurs at a severe level. Being prepared, staying calm, and working with a gynecologist that you trust can make the process smoother.

Check out some of our other articles for more health guides and tips!

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