Information about intrauterine contraception
This page will provide you with the information you need to prepare for a fitting of intrauterine contraception (IUC). IUC is a long acting reversible method of contraception.
It is important that there is no risk of pregnancy when you attend -see step 2 below.
If you have fibroids or have had difficult or failed IUC insertions we need to talk to you before your fitting appointment to ensure you attend the most appropriate fitting clinic - see step 3 below. Please make a phone appointment by calling 020 3317 5252.
It is important you comply fully with social distancing and hand hygiene measures from 2 weeks prior to your appointment. Do not attend if you have had any symptoms suggestive of COVID in the previous 10 days, or have been advised to self isolate – instead please cancel your appointment, and rearrange for a time when it is safe for you to attend. If someone is accompanying you, due to capacity within the clinics we may need to ask them to wait outside whilst you are seen.
We offer two types of IUC; the copper IUD (intrauterine device) or hormonal IUS (intrauterine system).
Before you book or attend an appointment to have a device fitted, please follow the five steps below.
Please note this service is funded to provide care for women requiring contraception. If you want an Intrauterine system (for example, Mirena) just for a non-contraceptive reason such as part of HRT, we are unfortunately unable to provide this care and you should see your GP to arrange this.
If you want to have a device removed, it is important that you use condoms or don’t have sex for seven days before having it removed.
Step one: Watch this short video about intrauterine contraception
It is important that you watch this short video before your fitting as it contains important information.
We may have to reschedule your appointment if we are concerned about risks, such as pregnancy. This video explains any risks and the steps you should take to avoid them.
More information can be found on the Sexwise website.
Step 2: How to make sure you are not at risk of being pregnant at the time of your fitting
We need to make sure that you are not at risk of pregnancy when you attend for a fitting. If there is a risk you might be pregnant, we will have to reschedule your fitting.
The timing of your fitting will depend on what contraception you are currently using:
If you are currently using a hormonal method (pill, patch, vaginal ring, injection and non-expired implant) then your device can be fitted at any convenient time and you can continue to use your current method correctly until your fitting.
If you are currently using condoms, diaphragm, natural methods of contraception or have an expired implant or expired IUD/IUS device then you have two options:
- Abstain from sex from day one of your period until your fitting (or abstain from sex for three weeks if your periods are irregular)
- Arrange to use a short-acting form of contraception, for example, pill, patch, vaginal ring, for at least four weeks before the fitting.
If you need to replace your current IUD/IUS device and it has not yet expired then this can be done on any convenient day. Please make sure you abstain from sex or use condoms for seven days before the fitting. This is to make sure that you are not at risk of being pregnant if for some reason we cannot fit the new device after the original one is removed.
Step 3: Booking your appointment
Phone 0203 3175252 to book an appointment for your fitting. Please ask for a general contraception appointment for a pre-fitting discussion if:
- You have a learning disability
- You require an interpreter
- You are under 16 years of age
- You have known complex medical or gynaecological problems. For example, fibroids (make bold)
- You have had difficult or failed IUC insertions in the past.
If for any reason you are unable to attend your appointment, please call us to cancel it so that the appointment can be given to someone else.
Step 4: Preparation checklist
Our self-assessment checklist will help you to decide if you are ready to have an IUC fitting.
You will need to print a copy of our self-assessment checklist and bring a completed copy to your fitting appointment.
Download self-assessment checklist (opens Microsoft word document)
Step 5: On the day of your appointment
Where possible we will fit your device at your appointment.
However, there may be reasons why the fitting may need to be deferred. If this happens then the doctor or nurse who is seeing you will explain why.
On the day of your appointment:
- Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment for registration
- Allow at least two hours for the appointment. Although the procedure does not take this long, some women need a little more time to recover after the procedure
- We recommend that you eat and take simple pain relief before your appointment
- We advise that you do not bring children with you when you have your appointment. If you have no alternative, then you must bring someone to look after them during your consultation and fitting.
- Bring sanitary protection, as you may experience some bleeding after the fitting
- We advise you to avoid driving immediately after your fitting.