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, the overall risk of having an ectopic pregnancy is lower than it is for other sexually active women who don't use 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 ParaGard from your uterus. You might not even feel it if this happens. 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 a second trimester abortion
Jan. 21, 2015