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Is an intrauterine contraceptive device like Copper T a safe birth control option?

Q: I am a 30 years old woman, mother of a two years old daughter. I had a C-section delivery. I now wish to use some form of birth control method to avoid any further pregnancy. I am thinking of going for a Copper T (CuT) insertion, but do not have any idea about it. Please settle my following doubts:

  1. How safe it is to be inserted and what is the success rate?
  2. Do I need to get hospitalised for it? How long does the procedure take?
  3. Will it affect my husband's pleasure?
  4. What are its side effects?
  5. What safety measure need to be followed after insertion?

A:Intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) is a very established and safe method of contraception. It is easy to insert. The commonly used ones - TCu380 and levonorgestrel- releasing IUCD (Mirena coil) are the most effective, with a cumulative pregnancy rate of less than 2% at 12 years for the TCu380 and around 1% for the Mirena IUCD at 7 years.
Insertion of IUCD is an outpatient procedure. You do not need to get hospitalised. The procedure takes approximately 5-10 minutes. Very rarely, women who experience extreme discomfort during the procedure e.g. if the cervix is tightly closed, the procedure may have to be done under anaesthesia.
IUCD does not interfere with sexual intercourse / pleasure. Occasionally, if the thread of the coil is cut long, your husband may feel it. If this happens, it can very easily be cut short by your doctor. Although theoretically a possibility, in my practice, I have not seen any woman returning for this reason.
There are no significant side effects with this procedure. You may experience some cramps and lower abdominal pains or slight irregular bleeding vaginally initially after insertion of the coil - both of which does settle down spontaneously.
Very rarely there may be complications such as uterus perforation or developing infection following its insertion. In these situations, the coil will need removing and you may have to consider alternative form of contraception.
There are no special precautions you need to take. However, depending on which period of your cycle you get it inserted, you may have to practice alternative form of contraception as well, till you have your next periods.
Your doctor should be able to tell you more about this depending on which phase of your cycle you present yourself for the IUCD insertion.

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