Why More Women Are Getting IUDs After Birth

Contrary to what you may think, having an IUD inserted directly after you give birth is perfectly fine, and may even keep you healthier in the long run.

Why More Women Are Getting IUDs After Birth Image Point Fr/Shutterstock

"Congratulation on your new baby! Would you like an IUD inserted now?"

OK, so the conversation probably wouldn't go exactly like that, but more women are opting to have long-term contraceptive devices inserted right after delivery, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Michigan Health System found that expanded Medicaid coverage in 19 states is now allowing for reimbursement for an implant or an IUD at the same time as delivery. This option is important because, as the study found, 40 to 60 percent of low-income women who want a birth control implant post-pregnancy don't end up getting it because of barriers (like lack of child care) that keep them from a doctor's office appointment.

Combining the two cuts the visit down to one and drastically slashes the chances of pregnancy soon after delivery.

The risk of unintended pregnancy

"Postpartum women have a high risk of unintended pregnancy, partly because less than 10 percent use the most effective forms of contraception," lead author Michelle Moniz, M.D. M.Sc., an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and researcher at the University of Michigan Medical School, wrote in the study published in the journal Contraception.

While it may seem like placing a long-acting reversible contraceptive device like an IUD or the implant Nexplanon may be dangerous, Dr. Moniz says there is no increased risk with insertion during child delivery compared to outpatient insertion.

"The IUD has a slightly higher rate of falling out, but the benefits of immediate placement seem to outweigh the potential risk," Dr. Moniz tells Fit Pregnancy. "The IUD can be replaced, if needed."

Why a post-baby IUD is best for women's health

Immediate placement doesn't increase risk of IUD harm, such as infection or damage to uterus. It does, however, cut down on the health risks associated with getting pregnant again soon after childbirth. Studies have shown associations with miscarriage, pre-term birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth, according to Dr. Moniz.

"A majority—in one recent study, 70 percent—of pregnancies conceived within 12 months of a live birth are unintended," she adds.

Giving women greater control over their bodies with expanded birth control means women can properly heal their bodies and allow for better family planning, leading to happier (and healthier) moms. Sign us up!

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