What Happens During an IUD Insertion?
The first thing to know is that you won't get your IUD inserted during the first appointment you make. First, you'll schedule a time to talk with your ob-gyn or care provider about your overall health and the consent process, said Erica Cahill, MD, an ob-gyn and cohost of the V-Word podcast. Once you've gone over all your birth control options and officially decided on an IUD, you'll make an appointment for the procedure. Dr. Cahill laid out what you can expect from the insertion process.
- First, you'll get a pelvic exam so your care provider can feel the size and shape of your uterus. Wearing gloves, they'll insert two fingers into your vagina while using the other hand to feel your abdomen.
- Your care provider will insert a speculum, a duck-bill-shaped device, into your vagina. The speculum will hold your vagina open during the insertion. Your provider may also check for STIs like gonorrhea and chlamydia at this point.
- They'll clean your cervix (the opening to your uterus or womb) using a swab and some cleaning solution.
- Your care provider will insert a tenaculum, a tool used to keep your cervix in place.
- Now, your care provider will insert the IUD. They'll slide the IUD inserter (a long, thin tube) through your cervical canal and into your uterus, making sure it's all the way at the top of the uterus. At this point, you may feel some intense cramping. "I always have patients take three deep breaths during this section," Dr. Cahill said.
- Your care provider will release the IUD and remove the inserter, leaving the IUD inside.
- The strings of the IUD will be cut down to just a few centimeters long. These strings lay outside of your cervix and allow your provider to remove the IUD, when necessary, and check that it's still in place. (You shouldn't be able to feel them.)
- The speculum comes out and you're all done.