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What Should I Do If I Think I’m Pregnant and I Have an IUD?

An intrauterine device is a convenient form of birth control for some women. You do not have to remember to take a pill or purchase a barrier contraceptive. This small T-shaped device is usually made of hormone-embedded plastic or copper. And your provider may have inserted it through your cervix and into your uterine cavity. While an unexpected pregnancy is rare for women with an IUD, if you’ve begun to notice symptoms, you may want to confirm your suspicions. Medical care may be necessary in this case. It’s possible for serious complications to occur if you’re pregnant and you have an IUD in place.

Do you think you may be pregnant despite having an IUD? Avenue Women’s Center offers comprehensive information and unexpected pregnancy support throughout each of our six locations in DuPage County. Our trained staff can meet with you to discuss your concerns. Receive one of our free, medical-grade pregnancy tests, and medical referrals for further treatment. We know you may have a lot of questions, and we’re committed to ensuring you receive reliable answers.

Call, chat, email, or text to start talking about your unexpected pregnancy with us today!

IUD Effectiveness and the Risk of Pregnancy

Finding out you’re pregnant after having taken steps to prevent it can understandably seem a bit frustrating and stressful. While less than 1 percent of women who use an IUD as their preferred form of birth control experience an unexpected pregnancy, the outcome is not impossible. Sometimes an IUD can fall out of place. Or, in the case of hormonal IUDs like Mirena and Skyla, it can take up to seven days after insertion for them to become effective. You may also experience a pregnancy if your IUD has been in place for longer than the manufacturer recommends.

Confirming You’re Pregnant While You Have an IUD

Early pregnancy symptoms such as a missed period, nausea, and tiredness can be difficult to distinguish from side effects that may be caused by your IUD. So, it’s recommended you take a test. If after taking an at-home test you still feel uncertain about the results, you may want to call your doctor or arrange to take one at a first-step options clinic. Pregnancy tests typically check for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This is a hormone your body produces when you’re pregnant. Taking the test with a professional nearby can enable you to ask questions afterwards.

Generally, your IUD will have strings attached to it. Your doctor may look to see if they’re visible in order to remove it. While taking the IUD out can improve your pregnancy’s health, you may still be at a higher risk for complications than someone who has never had an IUD. For some women, their IUD string may not be visible. This means your doctor may use a cytobrush or some other tool to take it out.

Your IUD may need to be removed before the end of the first trimester, as having it taken out beyond this point can be dangerous to your health. If the pregnancy test was positive and you’ve been thinking about abortion as one of your options, know that it may still be necessary for the IUD to be removed.

Risks of Being Pregnant With an IUD Inserted

It may be important to schedule an ultrasound exam if you suspect you may be pregnant while you have an IUD inserted. This exam will usually assess your health and determine if there’s a risk of complications. IUD pregnancies tend to be ectopic or end in a miscarriage, so if you’ve been thinking about abortion as an option, you may need to consider alternative medical treatment instead. If an ultrasound confirms your unexpected pregnancy is indeed ectopic, that is, the egg may have implanted itself in your fallopian tubes or elsewhere, this can lead to heavy bleeding if proper care is not administered.

If you have any questions about your IUD or if you suspect it may have failed at preventing a pregnancy, please do not hesitate to contact your doctor or another professional for assistance.

Finding out your contraceptive method may have failed can be stressful, but Avenue Women’s Center is here to provide you with support. Confirm your pregnancy with a free medical-grade test, accurate just 10 days after possible conception.  Our caring staff are here to help you navigate this uncertain time.  Serving women with confidential and committed care, we will ensure you have access to any information and resources you may need.

Schedule a free appointment today to start talking with one of our pregnancy consultants!



Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.