Pros and Cons of using Copper-T (IUD) to prevent pregnancy
Created by Dr Shipra Mathur Updated on Sep 24, 2019
In this blog, Dr. Shipra Mathur discusses the pros and cons of using Copper-T (IUD) after childbirth, to prevent another pregnancy from happening.
What is copper – T or Copper Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD)?
Copper – T (or Copper Intrauterine contraceptive device) is a T – shaped plastic device which is fitted inside the uterus by a doctor to prevent a pregnancy from happening. Copper – T is a long-acting reversible method of contraception. It is a highly effective and safe method of contraception.
How does a Copper – T work?
Copper – T releases copper inside the uterus. Copper interferes with the sperm's ability to move and makes the uterine lining unfavorable for implantation by inducing local changes in the lining. A Copper – T can work for 3, 5 or 10 years depending on the type of device used.
How effective is the Copper – T in preventing pregnancy?
The failure rate of Copper -T is only 1 per 100 women for 1 year. This means that if 100 women use it for a period of 1 year, only one of them will experience the failure of copper – T and have a pregnancy.
Benefits of Copper–T right after delivery:
Women can choose to get a copper – T inserted soon after the delivery before leaving the hospital. Women can have an unintended pregnancy soon after childbirth if a physical relationship is done without using birth control. Pregnancy can sometimes happen even before the return of periods. Starting a birth control measure right after delivery can help avoid an unintended pregnancy. This also ensures that a separate visit will not be required for copper – T insertion later.
When should the option be discussed with the doctor?
One can discuss Copper – T while still pregnant or right after the delivery.
Side effects of using Copper – T:
1. There may be some changes in the menstrual pattern, periods may be painful and heavier during the first few months of use.
2. Pain-relieving medication may be used to relieve these symptoms.
3. Some women experience cramping in lower tummy and backache.
4. There may be increased chances of developing a vaginal infection.
5. Expulsion – spontaneous expulsion of a Copper – T may happen. This is not harmful but if the copper – T is no longer in place, there are chances of a pregnancy.
6. Chances of expulsion are slightly higher if IUD (Copper – T ) is placed in the uterus immediately after childbirth.
7. Perforation in the uterus – In about 1 in 1000 insertions, the IUD may perforate the wall of the uterus and migrate out of it. This requires removal by doing a surgery.
8. Failure – Rarely, pregnancy may happen while the copper – T is still in place. If pregnancy happens while the copper – T is still inside the uterus, there are more chances that it will be an ectopic pregnancy.
Benefits of using Copper-T:
1. It is safe for the baby during breastfeeding.
2. It doesn’t interfere with daily activities and physical relationship.
3. It can be used in women who do not tolerate hormonal pills due to side effects or in whom they can’t be prescribed due to various medical conditions where their use is contraindicated.
4. It is a highly successful method with very low chances of failure and is cost-effective also.
5. It doesn’t require continuous effort on part of the user. It is a one-time method.
Drawbacks: It doesn’t prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
Conclusion: Copper – T is a safe and effective method of preventing a pregnancy. It can be inserted immediate postpartum (after childbirth) in most women except a few who are at an increased risk of infection or heavy bleeding. Women can talk to their doctor about this method of contraception during pregnancy or immediately after childbirth.