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ParaGard Intrauterine Device

Copper T 380A IUD


Updated April 21, 2014

ParaGard Intrauterine Device

ParaGard Copper T 380A IUD

© 2014 Dawn Stacey

A teen may not be able to use an IUD if her uterus is too small. Although some doctors (along with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) understand that the ParaGard IUD is safe and effective for young women, some doctors may still be unwilling to insert it in teens.

Women who have not given birth can also benefit from IUD use. Yet, these women may offer more challenging insertion because they tend to have smaller uteruses.


Increased Risk Factors Associated With ParaGard:

Certain conditions may increase the chances of developing serious complications while using an IUD. These include being at risk for sexually transmitted infections at the time of insertion or:
  • Have or had ovarian cancer
  • Take daily medication(s) containing a corticosteroid (such as prednisone)
  • Have a uterus positioned very far forward or backward in the pelvis
  • Had PID in the past 12 months
  • Have a history of tubal infection (this does not apply for women who had a pregnancy in their uterus since the infection)
  • Have diabetes or severe anemia
  • Have had two or more sexually transmitted infections within the past two years
  • Are taking medicines to prevent blood clots
  • Have a history of impaired fertility and the desire to get pregnant in the future
  • Have uncontrolled infections of the cervix or vagina, such as bacterial vaginosis


How to Obtain the ParaGard IUD:

You will need to make an appointment with your doctor to see if the ParaGard IUD is right for you. It is important that you honestly discuss your medical history and sexual lifestyle with your doctor because an IUD isn't right for all women.


Your doctor will most likely perform a pelvic exam to be sure that your cervix, vagina, and internal organs are normal and not infected. You may be tested for sexually transmitted infections, vaginal infections, precancerous cervical cells, or any other condition that needs to be treated before an IUD can be inserted.

If it is determined that you are a good candidate for the ParaGard IUD, the doctor will have you schedule a date for its insertion. It can be inserted at any time during your menstrual cycle.

After your first period (or at least no longer than three months after insertion), schedule a checkup to make sure your IUD is still in place. After that, regular IUD checkups can be done at the time as your periodic gynecological exam.


Checking Your IUD:

The ParaGard IUD has strings attached that hang down through the cervix into the vagina. You can make sure your ParaGard is still in the correct place by feeling for the strings. A doctor uses the strings to remove the IUD. It is suggested that you check for the strings between periods. It is especially important to check every couple of days for the first few months after insertion to make sure that your ParaGard is still properly in place. That being said, one of the greatest advantages of the ParaGard IUD is that, for the most part, once it has been inserted, a woman doesn’t have to really do anything!


Removal of the ParaGard IUD:

  • After 10 years are up, you must have the ParaGard IUD removed. You can choose to have another one inserted during the same visit.
  • You can also have the IUD removed at anytime before the 10 year period ends.
  • ParaGard must be removed by a doctor. You should not try to take it out yourself. Under rare cases, it may become expelled on its own; however, in general, you must schedule an appointment with your doctor to have it removed.
  • If ParaGard is expelled, generally, a woman doesn't even notice. This is why it is so important that you check for the IUD strings as this is how you know that your ParaGard is still there. If it has moved, you need to contact your doctor to have another one inserted. Your doctor will most likely perform a pregnancy test, to make sure that you are not pregnant, before inserting a new ParaGard IUD.
  • If the ParaGard IUD has become partially expelled, it is important to call your doctor right away and use back-up birth control.


Costs Associated with ParaGard IUD:

If you plan to use birth control for at least 1-2 years, an IUD is the least expensive contraceptive option available. The one-time cost of ParaGard, in comparison to other contraceptive methods, could save you hundreds of dollars or more over time.


A woman should check with her private health insurance policy, as coverage for birth control varies. Medicaid may cover these costs. In general, the charges from family planning clinics will usually be less than private health care providers. The cost of the exam, insertion and follow up visit may range from $175-$500.



ParaGard is one of the most effective reversible methods of birth control available. The ParaGard IUD is 99.2-99.4% effective. This means that out of every 100 women who use ParaGard in one year, less than one will become pregnant with typical use as well as with perfect use.


Keep in Mind: The majority of pregnancies that happen to ParaGard users occur because the ParaGard has slid out without them realizing it. Though the chance of pregnancy while using ParaGard is very low, if it does happen, you should contact your doctor once you know you are pregnant.


STD Protection:

ParaGard offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases.




Nelson AL. "The intrauterine contraceptive device". Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America, 2000 27:723-740. Accessed via private subscription.

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