Pregnancy

Who Knew? IUDs Work Even Better Than ‘Morning After Pill’ As Emergency Contraceptive

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IUD emergency contraceptiveWhen it comes to birth control, many moms out there swear by the IUD. In fact, the T-shaped device is making a comeback; The New York Times reports that the number of women in American using an IUD has more than tripled since 2002, while our own poll reveals nearly half of Mommyish readers are using one (ahead of condoms and birth control pills combined). Now a new study is touting the IUD as something much more than just birth control: it can actually work as an emergency contraceptive. Meaning if the condom rips, for instance, having an IUD inserted within five days is extremely effective in preventing pregnancy (even more so than Plan B, aka “the morning after pill”). Who knew?!

According to a new study published in the journal Human Reproduction, IUD as emergency contraceptive will work 999 times out of 1,000 (that’s pretty darn effective). By contrast, morning after pills like Plan B have failure rates 10 to 30 times higher. This will come as a shock to many people, including myself, who had no clue that there was an alternative to Plan B – especially not an IUD, which is more commonly thought of simply as a form of contraception (minus the “emergency” part).

Turns out IUDs are rarely offered as an emergency contraceptive, especially in the U.S. But they seem to do the trick. “Emergency insertion of a copper IUD is extremely effective,” said James Trussell, professor of public and international affairs at Princeton University and lead author of the study. “We would hope [the findings] would encourage clinicians to talk with women about emergency insertion of a copper IUD during regular visits for later use, should the need arise.”

Of course, many women will still opt for the morning after pill when necessary because it’s way more convenient (and affordable). An IUD needs to be inserted in the uterus and often requires two visits to the doctor, whereas Plan B is available at many pharmacies – without a prescription – to women 17 and older. Still, it’s nice to know there are other options out there no matter what stage in life you happen to be in.

(Photo: mycontraception.ie)