Less than 1 percent of women who use ParaGard will get pregnant in the first year of typical use. If you do conceive while using ParaGard, you're at higher risk of an ectopic pregnancy — when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. However, because ParaGard prevents most pregnancies, women who use it are at lower risk of having an ectopic pregnancy than are other sexually active women who are not using contraception.

ParaGard doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Side effects associated with ParaGard include:

  • Anemia
  • Backache
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Cramps
  • Inflammation of the vagina (vaginitis)
  • Pain during sex
  • Severe menstrual pain and heavy bleeding
  • Vaginal discharge

It's also possible to expel ParaGuard from your uterus. You may be more likely to expel ParaGard if you:

  • Have never been pregnant
  • Have heavy or prolonged periods
  • Have severe menstrual pain
  • Previously expelled an IUD
  • Are younger than age 20
  • Had the IUD inserted immediately after childbirth or an abortion
Jan. 21, 2012