STD Home > ParaGard and Pregnancy
As a pregnancy Category X device, ParaGard (the copper IUD) can cause serious complications and should not be used during pregnancy. This device can increase the risk for miscarriages, birth defects, premature birth, and serious infections. To avoid these complications, women who are using this product should let their healthcare provider know immediately if they think they might be pregnant.
Can Pregnant Women Use ParaGard?ParaGard® (the copper IUD) is an intrauterine device (IUD) used to prevent pregnancy. It is a small device that contains copper. It is inserted into the uterus and left in place for several years. Although this product is usually quite effective at preventing pregnancy, rare pregnancies may occur. ParaGard can cause problems in these pregnancies.
What Is Pregnancy Category X?The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is used during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category X is given to medications that should not be used during pregnancy. This is usually because these drugs can cause problems like miscarriages or birth defects.
Although the prescribing information for ParaGard does not specifically mention a pregnancy category (as is common among older products like ParaGard), it is considered a pregnancy Category X device.
ParaGard and Ectopic PregnancyAn ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus, including a "tubal" pregnancy. Although pregnancy is rare in women who use ParaGard, women who do become pregnant while using this device have a higher risk for an ectopic pregnancy. These pregnancies cannot survive, often require surgery, and can result in permanent damage that can lead to infertility.
Be watchful for any signs of an ectopic pregnancy, such as severe abdominal (stomach) pain and unusual vaginal bleeding. ParaGard might not be a good choice for you if you have ever had an ectopic pregnancy or if your healthcare provider believes that you are at risk for an ectopic pregnancy.
Because of the high risk of ectopic pregnancy (and because waiting to take care of an ectopic pregnancy can be very dangerous), let your healthcare provider know immediately if you become pregnant, or even suspect that you may be pregnant, while using ParaGard.