Abortion clinics across the country are under attack, as the far right moves to close as many women’s health centers as possible. While you do need to get active and vote, you don’t need to panic. Panicked people behave irrationally, and can’t look out for themselves. That’s exactly what the far right wants. At a time when abortion is becoming increasingly inaccessible, long acting contraceptives like intrauterine devices (IUD) are a great option for protecting yourself. Here’s what you need to know.
IUD 101: How an IUD Works
An IUD is a small, t-shaped device inserted into the uterus through the cervix to prevent pregnancy.
IUDs come in two basic forms. The hormonal IUD releases progestin, a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, to prevent ovulation. If you do ovulate, the hormones the IUD releases can also make it more difficult for the egg to implant in the uterus, causing a pregnancy.
A copper IUD releases no hormones. Instead, the copper causes an inflammatory reaction that prevents ovulation and pregnancy.
Removing the IUD reverses the contraception, making it possible to get pregnant. You can get an IUD at your primary care provider’s office, at a gynecologist, and at most family planning clinics. They’re usually covered by insurance.
Benefits of an IUD
A hormonal IUD offers many of the same benefits as hormonal birth control, but usually with fewer side effects. It may ease symptoms of PMS, make your periods lighter, reduce cramps, and sometimes make your period disappear altogether. It is safe while breastfeeding. While a doctor is supposed to remove it, it is possible to remove it on your own in an emergency.
You can safely have an IUD for many years.
Risks of an IUD
Most people with IUDs have no serious side effects. In the days following placement, you may have some bleeding or cramping. Rarely, the IUD may fall out. And extremely rarely, it can move around in the uterus, causing inflammation, serious injuries, and sometimes pelvic inflammatory disease. If you have any pain, call your doctor or midwife right away.
An IUD is one of the best ways to protect yourself if you know you don’t want kids in the next few years.
Abortion is still legal. If you have an unwanted pregnancy, find a safe abortion clinic here.