If you are trying to avoid getting pregnant for a couple of years, Mirena is an effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Many women claim it is truly an innovative method of birth control that takes away the stress of unwanted pregnancy.
But, what happens if you change your mind and want to start a family? Will it be easy to start a family after Mirena? Believe it or not, having babies after Mirena is not that hard. While it is 99% effective in birth control, it is reversible, and your fertility reverts to normal once your doctor removes Mirena. Here, we look at Mirena, IUDs, and learn more about getting pregnant after Mirena.
Understanding The Concept Of A IUD
Contraception works by keeping the egg and sperm apart, or by stopping the production of eggs altogether. An Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a device that provides long-acting reversible contraception for women. The IUD prevents fertilization of the egg by either stopping the sperm from moving towards the egg or if it does reach the egg, it stops the embryo from implanting in the womb. So, it primarily prevents the egg and sperm from surviving in the womb or fallopian tubes.
There are different types of IUDs, which include:
- The copper IUD is the most frequently use IUD, as it remains in place for up to 10 years. In this method of contraception, a copper wire is wound around the stem of the T-shaped IUD. This IUD is usually meant for emergency contraception. So if you have just had unprotected sex and want to steer clear of pregnancy, this is the IUD that will come to your aid.
- The hormonal IUD works by releasing levonorgestrel, which is a form of a female hormone known progestin. This type of IUD is slightly more effective in preventing pregnancies than the copper IUD. However, unlike the copper IUD, the hormonal IUD is not an emergency contraceptive (1).
What Is Mirena?
- Mirena has been used as an effective contraceptive since the 1990s. It is a small, T-shaped hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) that is responsible for reducing menstruation or stopping it altogether.
- This intrauterine device is estrogen-free, fits into your womb, and can’t be felt at all when placed correctly. Women, who suffer from menorrhagia (2), or heavy menstrual bleeding, take Mirena to reduce their menstrual flow. If you are not interested in getting pregnant for a while and wish to avoid the hassle of remembering to take a birth control pill regularly, then Mirena is the most reliable birth control method for you.
- The levonorgestrel present in Mirena prevents a woman from fully ovulating, as the egg doesn’t get the chance to mature (3). Instead of copper, the IUD uses progesterone, to ensure desired effects. It is made of soft plastic that is flexible and is inserted without the need of a surgical process. So, you have nothing to worry about!
- With Mirena, just like other hormonal IUDs, you experience lighter but longer periods during the first six months. You may also witness bleeding or spotting in between your period. Mirena is a reversible contraceptive, and once it is in place, you don’t have to think about ways to avoid pregnancy every time you decide to have sex.
- A plastic string is attached to the end of the IUD, and this hangs into the vagina through the cervix. Feeling this string will help you ascertain the position of the intrauterine device so that you can ensure that it is properly placed. It is with the help of these strings that the doctor takes the IUD out when you decide you want to get pregnant. It is best to check the string of your IUD after every period to make sure it is still properly placed. If you cannot feel the string or the rigid end of the IUD, you should call your doctor immediately.
- Simply put, Mirena is a hormone-releasing system that is placed in the woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy. It works for up to five years. Its usage even extends to women who have had children already.
Women who have menorrhagia, claim to love the effects – reduced or absent menstruation. However, there are others who claim Mirena makes them feel like a lesser woman. The experience differs for every person. In any case, once you remove the Mirena, you can get back to your normal self.
Advantages Of Using Mirena
There are many reasons why Mirena works as a good birth control method.
- It is reversible and therefore, it is possible to get pregnant once the device is removed by a qualified doctor
- It does not affect your sexual intercourse or sexual pleasure in any way whatsoever
- It does not come in the way of breastfeeding
- It is easy to remove but never attempt it yourself. Visit your healthcare expert when you want the IUD removed
- There is no evidence associated with Mirena that it increases the risk of cancer
- It is 99% effective
- It works for up to 5 years
- As it is a hormonal IUD, it reduces the risk of ectopic pregnancy and does not cause weight gain
- Mirena reduces menstrual bleeding, cramps, and pain. So, most women have the chance to enjoy a time where they don’t experience discomfort. Some don’t even have to worry about menstruation during the time they use Mirena. In this case, lack of menstruation is not considered harmful or dangerous
- The process of inserting the Mirena is safe and easy, and can be done in just a few minutes. Sometimes local anesthesia may be used, but this is not the norm.
[ Read: Precautions To Avoid Pregnancy ]
Getting Pregnant After Mirena Removal: Is It Possible?
Women, who use an intrauterine device, may worry about the chances of getting pregnant later. Thankfully, with Mirena, there is no need for concern. Getting pregnant after removing Mirena is simpler than you can imagine.
The IUD relies on the release of hormones. When inserted into the uterus, it delivers small quantities of the hormone progestin to the uterus.
The Mirena is typically placed a week after the woman starts her menstrual period. When you decide that you would like to get pregnant, your doctor will take the IUD out, and its contraceptive effects should disappear immediately.
The IUD is usually removed from the uterus by inserting a speculum and pulling the threads out. This may cause a slight amount of discomfort, but most women can tolerate it. Mirena can be removed at any time of your cycle when you decide that you are ready to start a family.
[ Read: Can Ovary Cysts Prevent Pregnancy ]
Getting Pregnant After Mirena Removal: How Long Does It Take?
Your fertility may return to normal almost immediately after your current menstrual cycle. A majority of women report their menstrual cycle returned to normal within six months or a year after removing Mirena. In rare cases, some women claim they waited for over a year to get fertile once again. Doctors usually recommend women add folic acid or prenatal vitamins to the diet before they opt for a Mirena removal.
There is no evidence that Mirena removal leads to miscarriages or ruins your menstrual cycle, or prevents pregnancy. Remember there are many things that have to go right for you to get pregnant.
[ Read: Birth Control Patch ]
Returning To A Normal Menstrual Cycle
In a study, researchers found women, who stopped using Mirena, were able to conceive just as easily as those who did not use any form of birth control. However, doctors suggest it is best for women to wait for one menstrual cycle before attempting to conceive. The rest helps the body get back into its daily rhythm and also ensures hormonal levels are back to normal. Nearly 80 out of 100 women who tried to conceive after Mirena have been successful and conceived without any problem within a year of removal (4).
Although getting pregnant after Mirena won’t harm your baby at all, if you succeed in getting pregnant soon after Mirena removal, the exact due date will be hard to predict. Moreover, your body won’t have the chance to have a complete menstrual cycle without the presence of Mirena hormones.
Fake Pregnancy After Mirena Removal
Although you can feel the strings, you may face unnecessary complications if it is not done right. So let a doctor, who is trained to it, do the job for you, as this is far safer and will reduce the risk of injury. You will not experience too much discomfort when the device is removed. So, you have nothing to worry about.
After Mirena removal, your body need time to readjust to the new hormone levels. And you may experience symptoms, which are rather similar to those women experience when they are pregnant. Some of these fake pregnancy symptoms include:
- Irregular periods
- Breast soreness
- Increased appetite
- Extreme tiredness
- Mood swings
- Bloating (5)
[ Read: Birth Control Methods For Men And Women ]
Things You Should Know About Mirena
If you have passed the 18-month mark and are desperate to get pregnant, talking to a fertility doctor can help speed the process, as there may be other factors preventing you from conceiving.
Good Candidates For Mirena:
Mirena is not an emergency contraceptive, but it can be used by women, who have had a child, or those who wish to wait a while before chalking out their family plan. Thus, you are a good candidate if:
- You are breastfeeding your baby
- You don’t want to get your tubes tied
- You don’t want to get pregnant again or at least, not yet
- You have had a baby
Poor Candidates For Mirena:
Mirena may not be good for you under the following circumstances:
- If you have a pelvic infection or certain types of cancers
- Women with congenital heart diseases or surgically constructed systemic pulmonary shunts should be careful as there is a possibility of infective endocarditis. Mirena may also become a source of septic embolism
- You are prone to infections
No birth control is perfect for all users, but by being aware of how Mirena works and getting familiar with this IUD’s side effects, you will be more prepared to deal with it.
[ Read: Birth Control Shot ]
Side Effects Of Using Mirena
When taking any medication, it is always best to consider the possible side effects you are likely to experience. The same holds true for Mirena. In some cases, it may cause pelvic inflammatory disease that occurs as a result of the way the IUD was inserted. Symptoms usually develop 20 days after the Mirena insertion.
This FDA-approved intrauterine device does have a few side effects that you should brace yourself for. The most common side effect is amenorrhea or missed periods. Others include:
- Heavy bleeding in the first couple of weeks following insertion of the Mirena
- Bleeding and spotting between periods
- Pain in the pelvic or abdominal region
- Cysts in the ovary
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bloating up
- Changes in hair growth
- Weight gain
- Reduced or complete loss of interest in sex
- Skin rashes
- Puffiness of hands, ankles, feet and even face
- Tenderness and pain in the breasts
- Back pain
- Migraines or headaches
Possible Fertility Issues With Mirena
Apart from these minor side effects, sometimes the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device may get embedded into the wall of the uterus or form a hole in the uterus. This can have adverse effects like scarring, infection or damage to other organs. If the device gets embedded in the uterine wall or perforates it, you may need to go in for surgery to get the device out. The risk of perforation is more common among breastfeeding women. When such situations arise, the device may no longer prevent pregnancy.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is another serious but uncommon issue of Mirena. This disease, also known as PID, is sexually transmitted. When you or your partner engage in sexual intercourse with other people, there is a higher possibility of developing PID. This can cause damage to the fallopian tubes and lead to ectopic pregnancy, infertility, and persistent pelvic pain. In severe cases, it could even result in death. Administering antibiotics are the usual mode of treating PID. However, in some cases, surgery could be a necessity.
In the days following the placement of Mirena, there is the possibility of experiencing a life-threatening infection, which is known as sepsis. Severe pain or unexplained fever soon after placing the Mirena is a sign this infection.
There are a lot more issues that can occur. However, when they get this severe, you need to rush to your doctor immediately. Less than 10% of women experience adverse fertility issues, but when they do occur, the symptoms involve:
- Irregular bleeding
- Vaginal and uterine bleeding
- Spotting not due to periods and,
- About 10 out of 100 women experience ovarian cysts (6)
- About 20 out of 100 women using Mirena stop getting their period after a year, but your period returns to normal once Mirena is removed.
- Some other severe side effects that occur on using Mirena include:
- Heavy or ongoing vaginal bleeding along with vaginal sores
- Watery, foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Severe pain in your lower stomach
- Pale skin
- Feeling of weakness
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Sudden numbness or weakness and other signs of infection
- Yellowing of skin or eyes, also known as jaundice
- Signs of allergic reactions, like hives, swelling of face, lips, throat and difficulty breathing
- Fever or chills (7)
[ Read: Can You Still Get Pregnant With An IUD ]
Getting Pregnant With Mirena?
Although it is a rare condition, no contraception has a 100% success rate. Hence, there is a small possibility you may get pregnant while on Mirena. If this happens, you need to visit your healthcare expert immediately. Most of the times, your doctor will remove Mirena. However, removing the IUD device while you are pregnant comes with the risk of miscarriage. Then again, keeping it in poses a greater risk.
If the Mirena is in place and you think you may be pregnant, there is also the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies can be dangerous for a mother as the fertilized egg gets implanted in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. This makes it impossible for the embryo to survive. Though such a pregnant is not viable, it can be risky for the mother and subject her to problems like scarring, pain and large amounts of blood loss. The chances of conceiving at this time are less than 1 out of 100 (8), and sometimes premature delivery or even death can result occur because of this situation.
Apart from this rare possibility, even if you have been on Mirena for a long period your cycle will return to normal after it is removed. So, you need not worry about your fertility levels.
[ Read: Ectopic Pregnancy ]
Additional Information About Mirena And Pregnancy You Should Know
- Make sure you do not have any interactions with steroids, warfarin and or insulin when on Mirena
- If Mirena comes out, make sure you use back-up birth control and call your healthcare provider
- The belief that an IUD can increase the chances of an ectopic pregnancy is not true. In fact, it is more likely to prevent pregnancy than causing ectopic pregnancy
- Inform your doctor about all medicines, vitamins, minerals, herbal products or other kinds of non-prescription medication you are taking before getting Mirena
- General, past and current health, including your sexual history, are important considerations when deciding whether you should go in for Mirena
- Surprisingly, the IUD retention rates are far better in women who have had a miscarriage or abortion compared to women who have never been pregnant
- Sometimes there is the possibility of the Mirena slipping partially out of the uterus. This process is known as expulsion. When this occurs, the device is no longer effective, and the woman can get pregnant
- Sometimes breast milk of nursing mothers may contain small amounts of progestin, and this leads to detectable steroid levels in the serum of infants
- Although uncommon, getting pregnant while using Mirena can be life-threatening and can lead to a loss of pregnancy and fertility. Becoming pregnant while using Mirena is dangerous, as manipulating or removing it while pregnant can lead to a miscarriage. Though most of the times, the pregnancies that occur while using Mirena are usually ectopic
- Bleeding and spotting may increase in the first 3 to 6 months after Mirena insertion. Over time, your periods will most probably become shorter or less or stop completely.
- Lastly, an IUD is not going to protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Hence, Mirena is best for women who are in monogamous relationships. The use of a condom will protect you from STIs. In fact, it is best to go in for a check-up if you think you have a sexually transmitted infection.
The use of Mirena gives you the chance to leave your family planning options open without any hassle. The effects of Mirena last for around five years, but if at any point in time you realize that you are ready to start a family, you can visit your physician and get the device removed. Not only is Mirena an extremely effective method of birth control, but it is also reversible and extremely convenient. Getting pregnant after Mirena is easier than you think. With Mirena, you do not need to worry about taking a pill every day.
Of course, if you are still uncertain whether you would want to add to your family after five years, you can always get another Mirena. You can have your current Mirena removed and the new one fitted in at the same time. As long as it is positioned right during insertion, there is nothing for you to worry. This birth control method provides no barriers to getting pregnant at a later stage. It is safe for women of all ages, with or without children, and poses no threat to getting pregnant in future, as your natural fertility will return as soon as this IUD is removed.
Have you used Mirena? What was your experience of getting pregnant after Mirena? We would love to hear from you.
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