58 answers

Birth Control Options - IUD Vs. Depo?

Good morning, ladies. My husband and I have two children & at the moment, we feel our family is complete. I'm currently taking the mini-pill (Micronor) but I'm having some problems with it and want to switch. Also, we want something that is very effective as we've heard of 3 people lately who've gotten pregnant while on the pill! I know that is rare & likely user error, but it can happen. Plus, I'd like something that I don't have to remember to take every day. While a vasectomy is an option for my husband, we're not sure we want to shut the door 100% on future kids. So, I've been considering getting an IUD (like Mirena) or possibly start Depo Provera (the shot). I've heard pros and cons on both & just thought I'd gather your opinions on both options, hear your experiences or see if you have any other suggestions. Thanks so much for your help!

3 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

Thank you so much for all of the wonderfully helpful responses! Not only were they helpful for me, but my husband read them as well so we could make a decision together. After reading the responses, I immediately decided against the Depo shot. I decided to try the Nuva Ring, but after 2 months I didn't care for it. So in early June I decided to try the Mirena IUD & so far I'm very happy with my decision. Thank you all again for your responses - it really helped to read all of your advice & suggestions!

UPDATE JULY '09: After 11 months with the Mirena, I had it removed. I had spotting for 4-6 months, as I expected, but then at about 8-9 months the spotting returned. It was to the point where I was bleeding nearly every day. My doctor said the Mirena was keeping my uterine lining TOO thin, which was what caused the spotting. After having an ultrasound to make sure there was nothing else going on, I decided to replace my Mirena with a Paraguard IUD. I've had that for two months and am so much happier. Of course my period has returned (was nice to be without one on Mirena!) but I'd rather deal with one period every month instead of spotting every day. I've learned that the side effects of IUDs are different for everybody & some have none at all!

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I would say go with mirena. It has fewer side effects and can be removed at any time . The shot is not reversible. Mirena can be used for up to 5 years and with easy removale overs great flexability. I use it love it and think it is perfect for me. Mother of 3 who needed a break before we have more.

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I strongly recommend Natural Family Planning. There are no pills or devices, but rather complete union between you and your husband. You just have to become aware of your fertility signs. These signs let you know when you are ovulating (i.e., increase in cervical mucus) and by recognizing these signs you know when to/avoid having intercourse depending on whether you want to achieve/postpone/avoid becoming pregnant. My husband and I have been using NFP and it has been 100% effective for us. Another added bonus - couples who use NFP have a divorce rate of less than 1% -- for obvious reasons -- you are in constant communication and when engaged in the marital act, it is just the two of you with nothing in between! This is a beautiful method!! Check out www.ccli.org or www.woomb.org for more info and instructions.

1 mom found this helpful

Good Morning E.!! I truly understand your feelings. We have twin daughters and I really feel like the family is complete, but my husband doesn't want either of us to get anything permanent. I decided to get an IUD last year. I opted not to get Mirena because it has hormones and with me that leads to extra weight gain. i have Paragard (no hormones); and it's great!!! It can easily be reversed and it can stay in for a maximum of ten years!! Research it online and then call your ob/gyn abotu it. Hope this works.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,
From what I know, any hormones that you are putting into your body (pill, depo shot, etc.) can have adverse reactions (weight gain, decreased libido, mood swings). I have had a few friends on depo and they have all had horrid side effects. I have never taken it, but I wanted to share that.

I have a paragard IUD (copper wrapped, no hormones). I am very happy with it. I have also heard good things about Mirena, but again, that releases some hormones. I have friends who have the Mirena IUD and are very happy with it as well.

I also have a 4 year old and 1 year old . . .not sure if there will be a 3rd, but as you said, its nice to keep the door open. I had my IUD put in at my 6 week check up after my youngest was born and have had no problems at all - its been since Oct 2006. The ParaGard is good for 10 years and the Mirena is good for 5 years.

I love that I don't have to think about it. I am very happy with our decision to use this form of birth control. I'd be happy to answer any other questions that you might have.
B. :-)

1 mom found this helpful

Have you looked into NFP (Natural Family Planning)? It is more effective than the pill, doesn't mess with your hormones and strengthens your relationship with your hushand. We use the Creighton Model, but there are different ones out there. There is a learning curve and it takes a time commitment, but can be a good investment in your health, marriage and family.

1 mom found this helpful

They are finding it medically unsafe for a woman to be on depo for more than 2 years. I was on it for 6. I am now having to go through hormonal replacement theorapy at 31. I now have an IUD.

C. R.

I had the paraguard-10 year and had issues (heavy bleeding, up to 10 days) and cramping 20 of the 30 days of the month. I had it out after 2 years. We pondered too long on our next method and are expecting in Sept :) I have friends that swear by it and have none of those issues. It was easy in and easy out. My sister had the paraguard for 10 years, loved it, then after, had the mirena and just had it removed after 6 months. She was not getting her period at all anymore and she was so bloated and gained a lot of weight. She went back to the paraguard. I am sure it is different for everyone but thought I would share some different stories.

E. - I used the Nuvaring people mentioned for several years before hubby and I tried to get pregnant. If you don't mind putting it in and taking it out, it's great! So easy, and about the same cost as bc pills.

After giving birth to my daughter I had a Mirena IUD put in. There were a few issues at first - mild cramping for several weeks, spotting, and a little stinging from the nylon threads before they finally settled into a crevice somewhere, but after a couple of months of minor irritations, it's not noticeable at all. I don't really have periods either, just periodic spotting, v. light (although I'm also still breastfeeding). If you are serious about avoiding pregnancy, IUDs are one of the most fool-proof ways of avoiding it.

I've heard the copper IUD is not for women who already have heavy periods: it can intensify the bleeding and cramping so if you already have troublesome periods it can make them much worse. Of course, for some women it works like a charm.

Hi E., I have used both actually. I did the Depo shot after my first son was born. He is nine now. When we decided to start trying for the second, it took me over 2 years. The depo shot stopped my ovulation completly. I had to do all sorts of infertility treatments. It was very exhausting. I do not recommend the depo shot for anyone. Just because of my own experience. Now after my 4 year old was born I did go with the Mirena IUD. I have had it for 4 years. I love it. It is the greatest invention in the world of birth control. I never think about it and it is supposed to be good I do want to conceive again. It starts ovulation right away. I do not have monthly periods so if you feel that is not normal then that is not for you. I don't mind or miss the mess every month. Occaisionally I will bleed a little. Hope this helps. Love the Mirena. Highly recommended.

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