Intrauterine device (IUD) is one of the contraceptives that women use. The IUD is an effective method of avoiding pregnancy, and the numbers show that it might fail in only one out of 100 women using it (1).
Mirena is one such IUD that helps in preventing unwanted pregnancies. In this post, MomJunction tells you about the effectiveness of Mirena, the chances of getting pregnant after its removal, and the symptoms and implications of IUD pregnancies.
What Is Mirena And How Does It Work?
Mirena is a brand of T-shaped hormonal intrauterine device used for long-term birth control. This FDA-approved IUD is labeled to have an effectiveness of five years (2). It can only be placed by a healthcare provider.
Insertion of Mirena takes about five minutes and can be done during a regular visit to the doctor. The device is inserted using a few tools. It can be inserted at any time during the month, including the menses time, if you are not pregnant (3). If you are breastfeeding, your doctor will tell you about the right time to get it.
Mirena IUD works by releasing the hormone Levonorgestrel. This will thicken the mucus lining of the cervix to prevent the sperm from meeting or fertilizing the egg. It also thins the uterine lining, thereby, suppressing the ovulation partially. All of these will prevent pregnancy (4).
How Does IUD Help?
The IUD method of birth control might help in these ways (5) .
- It is an effective contraception method.
- You need not worry about remembering to take a contraceptive pill.
- It works for up to five years.
- It is reversible, and is possible to get pregnant once it is removed by a healthcare provider.
- It does not interfere with breastfeeding.
Are There Any Complications With IUD?
The effects of IUD need not be the same for every woman. Some women may have pain, bleeding, and dizziness during and after insertion. .
A few women might have more serious complications such as (6).
- Initial unexpected spotting per vaginum
- Perforation of the uterine wall
- Partial or complete expulsion of IUD where it spontaneously falls off
- Unexpected pregnancies such as ectopic pregnancy
- Increase in the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) on exposure to chlamydia or gonorrhea while inserting IUD.
Can You Get Pregnant When On Mirena?
Statistics show that less than one woman among every 100 using IUD is likely to get pregnant within the first year of usage. In rare cases, you may get pregnant with Mirena for the following reasons:
- Keeping the Mirena past its removal time or manufacturer’s approved timeline. According to a medical review, Mirena was found to be effective until seven years in women who are 25 years old at the time of insertion, and who had children (8). Later, the FDA revised its recommended timeline to five years.
- If the device is not inserted in the right place. If the Mirena translocates from the upper to the lower segment of the uterus, it does not work. In some cases, IUD might perforate the uterus, which may increase the probability of conception. For these reasons, you should get your Mirena device checked once every month if it is placed correctly and without any complications (9).
- If the body expels the device out of the uterus. There may be chances for the Mirena to fall off and you may get pregnant. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) statistics, expulsion rates of IUD range from 2% to 10%, which may mostly occur soon after inserting the device (9).
What Happens If You Get Pregnant On Mirena?
If you become pregnant on Mirena, there might be an increased risk of having an ectopic pregnancy or tubal pregnancy (10). It is the pregnancy where the embryo implants outside the uterus or in the fallopian tubes.
The other probable risks could be (11):
- Premature delivery
- Chorioamnionitis, which is the inflammation of the fetal membranes.
To avoid these complications, the doctor will recommend removing the Mirena. In some cases, Mirena cannot be reached as the uterus grows. Therefore, it is left in its place so as not to harm the pregnancy or the mother.
How Soon Can You Get Pregnant After Mirena IUD Removal?
Around eight out of ten women were found to get pregnant within one year of IUD removal (12).
Signs of Pregnancy with Mirena IUD
The signs of pregnancy with Mirena are the same as signs of any regular pregnancy. You will experience breast tenderness, nausea, fatigue, mild cramps, and light spotting along with missed periods. Some of these symptoms are similar to Mirena side effects. Threfore, you should check with a doctor to find the reason. You may also take a home pregnancy test if you missed your period.
An at-home pregnancy test may not indicate pregnancy as early as a blood test. Only the tests at a clinic can rightly detect a pregnancy.
Next, we answer some common queries that come up with Mirena usage.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can Mirena cause a false negative pregnancy test?
Mirena may not affect pregnancy results by causing a false-negative test. A false pregnancy test occurs due to reasons such as low level of hCG hormone in the urine (13), and doing the test improperly.
2. Can Mirena affect your fertility?
The hormonal Mirena is not known to affect fertility.
3. Does Mirena cause miscarriage after removal?
Mirena is unlikely to cause miscarriages after removal. If the insertion and removal are done right, the usage of Mirena or any other IUD is not known to lead to any risk in future pregnancies.
Mirena is being used as a contraceptive by many women. However, it needs to be noted that no form of birth control is 100% effective. If you are considering Mirena IUD, then consult your healthcare provider to find whether it is correct for you. Remember to keep track of any changes you experience after Mirena insertion and inform your doctor promptly.
Have you used Mirena? Let us know about it in the comment section below.
2. Anita L Nelson and Natasha Massoudi; New developments in intrauterine device use: focus on the US; Open Access J Contracept (2016)
3. What is an IUD?; Indian University
4. Insertion and Removal of Intrauterine Devices; American Family Physician (2005)
5. Intrauterine Device (IUD); SexInfo Online; University of California, Santa Barbara (2017)
6. Intrauterine devices (IUD); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health (2021)
7. M. Etminan et al., Risk of intracranial hypertension with intrauterine levonorgestrel; National Center for Biotechnology Information
8. Justine P.Wu and Sarah Pickle; Extended use of the intrauterine device: a literature review and recommendations for clinical practice; Contraception Journal, ScienceDirect (2014)
9. Adolescents and Long-Acting Reversible Contraception: Implants and Intrauterine Devices; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2018)
10. Levonorgestrel IUDs: Mirena, Kyleena and Skyla; University Health Services, Tang Center (2019)
11. Dalia Brahmia et al.; Pregnancy outcomes with an IUD in situ: a systematic review; Contraception Journal (2012)
12. Mirena® (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system); Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals (2008)
13. When is the best time to take pregnancy test?; The Ohio State University
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