Jefferson University Hospitals

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Frequently Asked Questions

Our Jefferson Health Reproductive Health Clinic team is here to answer all of your questions, starting with the frequently asked questions below.

Do I have to be on my period to get an IUD placed?

Absolutely not! We just need to make sure that you are not pregnant on the day that you want your IUD placed. To ensure you’re not pregnant, we must insert the IUD within seven days of the start of your period or if you have not had unprotected sex within two weeks of the IUD insertion and have a negative pregnancy test. We may delay an IUD insertion if you have had unprotected sex (sex without a condom or other birth control).

Does an IUD insertion hurt?

There is some discomfort when an IUD is inserted into the uterus. We try to minimize the discomfort by recommending that patients take 600 mg ibuprofen about 30 minutes before the IUD is inserted, unless the patient cannot take ibuprofen due to an allergy or other medical reason. For patients who have never had a vaginal birth, we will often also give numbing medication in the cervix (the opening to the uterus) to reduce the discomfort with the insertion.

Can the IUD move?

The IUD is put into the uterus, which is a space specifically designed to hold t-shaped IUDs. It is rare for an IUD to move. Sometimes the IUD can come out of the uterus in a process called expulsion. 2 - 5 percent of patients experience expulsion, and it is impossible to predict who will be impacted. An even less frequent complication is perforation of the IUD, which means that the IUD winds up in the belly cavity instead of in the uterus. Perforation of the IUD only happens to .1 percent of patients, and would generally occur at the time of insertion.

What is the most effective type of contraception?

Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC) are the most effective form of contraception for preventing pregnancy. LARC methods include IUDs and contraceptive implants that give you a less than a 1 percent chance of getting pregnant.

What is the least effective form of contraception?

We recommend all patients use condoms with every act of sex to prevent sexually transmitted infections unless they are in a monogamous relationship and using something else for pregnancy prevention. Condoms are relatively ineffective for pregnancy prevention though. If one hundred couples are using condoms only, about twenty of them will be pregnant by the end of a year.

Can birth control make me gain weight?

The only birth control method that leads to weight gain is the birth control shot (depomedroxyprogesterone acetate, aka Depoprovera). It is a myth that birth control pills, patches, rings, IUDs and implants can lead to weight gain. Only the shot can lead to weight gain. It is really important for people who think they’re gaining weight from their birth control to look at the food that they are eating and how much exercise they are doing.

What are the side effects of birth control pills, patches and rings?

The ring, patch and pill all have the same type of medications, just in different forms. The estrogen in these methods can cause nausea, vomiting and blood pressure changes. The progestin in these methods can cause bloating and mood changes. Your healthcare provider can help you choose the right formulation to minimize side effects for you. The rarest and most serious side effects of these methods are blood clots in the legs and the lungs. This side effect is incredibly rare and truly more common for pregnant people than people using birth control.

More Questions?

Please speak with your provider or call us at 215-955-5000

For more information about contraception, visit Bedsider, an online support network for birth control.

You can also view additional Frequently Asked Questions about managing your Jefferson Health OBGYN visit.