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IUDs are the new method on the block, but they're really easy to use and super effective at preventing pregnancy. Ask Us Anything about IUDs!

I recently talked to my doctor about getting birth control. I would like to get an IUD, but my doctor said she doesn't recommend an IUD for someone who hasn't had children before. Is she right? Or should I forget about getting an IUD and take birth control pills instead?

IUDs are definitely safe for women who have not had children. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, long acting birth control methods (like the IUD) are great options for teens because they’re super effective and can last for up to 12 years (but can be removed at any time), depending on what kind you get. It may help to ask your doctor why she doesn't think it's a good method for you, or even to show her the attached statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics. If she still doesn't want to give you an IUD, try visiting another health care provider to get a second opinion. Use our Clinic Locator to find a place near you—you can even ask them over the phone if they provide IUDs to teenagers. 

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What is the purpose of an IUD?

An IUD is a t-shaped piece of plastic that goes into a woman’s uterus and protects her from getting pregnant for three to 12 years, depending on what kind she gets. An IUD is a “set it and forget it” form of birth control, meaning that you don’t have to remember to take a pill everyday or go for a shot every month. It’s also super effective—more than 99%! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, long acting birth control like the IUD are a great option for teens. If you’re interesting in long acting birth control, your best bet is to have a conversation with your healthcare provider about which brand is best for you, since everybody is different. If you need help finding a doctor, check out our Clinic Locator. To explore the other birth control options that are available to you, take a look at our Birth Control Explorer.

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What is the most effective birth control methods? The pill? IUD? Also, are you more protected from pregnancy using two types of protection, like a condom and the birth control pill?

Hormonal birth control methods are super effective at preventing pregnancy, but the IUD and the implant are both at the top at up to 99% effective! They also have the added bonus of being longer-acting methods, which means that there’s no upkeep once these methods are inserted. Options like the pill also work really well, but only if you remember to take them every day around the same time. Your best bet when figuring out what birth control method is best for you is to have a conversation with your health care provider, since everyone’s body is different. If you want to learn more about the birth control methods that are available to you, check out our Birth Control Explorer. If you need to find a doctor, just pop your zip code into our Clinic Locator for more information about health centers in your area.

It’s always a great idea to double up on protection. Since male and female condoms are the only way to prevent STDs other than abstinence, using one of these methods along with hormonal birth control can ensure that you and your partner are protected during sex.

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What are the risks with the copper IUD? How should one decide if the hormone one is better than no hormone?

Although both hormonal and nonhormonal versions of the IUD are super effective, some women do report pain or discomfort when their IUD is first inserted. This doesn’t mean that everyone experiences these drawbacks—they’re just some of the commonly reported ones. The best thing that you can do is have a conversation with your health care provider! They will be able to explain all of the risks, benefits, and side effects of every form of birth control, including the IUD, and help you decide which method is best for you. If you’re interested in what other forms of birth control are available to you, check out our Birth Control Explorer. If you need help finding a doctor, just put your zip code into our Clinic Locator to find a health center near you.

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Can you get an IUD without your parents knowing?

You can get many kinds of birth control without your parents knowing, even if you’re a minor. The IUD (like other hormonal methods likethe pillpatch, ringshot or implant) require a visit to a health care provider. Each state makes its own laws about confidentiality for patients under 18. When calling to make an appointment, tell your age, ask if you need parental consent for your visit and the method you want, and ask whether the clinic guarantees confidentiality. If you’re visiting your usual health care provider’s office using health insurance under a parent’s name, try calling your insurance and doctor’s office to ask about confidentiality. It might be helpful to check out our info about talking to your doctor about sex and talking to your doctor about birth control too!

Need help finding a clinic? Use our clinic locator; just type in your zip code for all the info you’ll need to find a health center nearby.


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Can you get an IUD removed early?

Yes! IUDs work anywhere from 3 to 12 years (depending on what kind you get), but you can have an IUD removed early by a health care provider. If you need more details about the IUD removal process, you might what to have a chat with your doctor. If you need help finding a doctor, check out our Health Center Locator.

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If your daughter is planning on having intercourse for the first time should she get an IUD before?

An IUD is definitely an option for your daughter and it's very smart of you to want to make sure that she's covered by birth control before she becomes sexually active. But since we cannot offer specific medical advice on the internet, we recommend that you talk to your health care provider. If you need help finding a health care provider or someone to talk to, you can check out our clinic finder

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When using an IUD is it completely normal if your period gets lighter, heavier, or have spotting?

Yep! One of the minor drawbacks of an IUD is irregular bleeding (getting an IUD can change make your period heavier, lighter, or cause spotting). If you feel a lot of pain or are worried that the change in your period isn't normal, talk to your health care provider. 

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