I have been a big fan on IUDs (intrauterine devices) for quite some time, but I never made a real effort to get one. I mentioned it to by OB/GYN in Chicago about a year ago, but they were having trouble with my insurance. I was already on the pill, and it was working quite well—in the sense that I hadn’t gotten pregnant. So I dropped the idea of an IUD and stuck with the birth control I already had.
My mind changed after the election.
Trump’s constant promise to repeal Obamacare and his anti-choice rhetoric terrified me. My birth control pills were free, due to Obamacare. I don’t know what exactly will happen to birth control options if the President-elect follows through. The cost of the pill may increase or it may not be available at all. I can’t predict that future. But I did not want to wait around to find out. I’m tired of politicians thinking they somehow know my body, what’s good for it, and what it wants. The constant ignoring of women’s stories about wanting access to birth control is terrifying, and I’m sick of it. Birth control is healthcare, and healthcare is a right.
“Planned Parenthood of Illinois said it saw a 460 percent increase in the number of women making appointments online for intrauterine devices last month after the election compared with the previous November” (Chicago Tribune). And I was one of those women.
I decided to take matters into my own hands before a politician would do it for me. And hopefully this will help you do the same. Looking back, I wish I had more information about this process and what to expect. I don’t have all the answers, but here are some of the things I learned along the way.
For starters, find out how you can get an IUD first.
If you have insurance, call them. Ask them if they cover an IUD.
If they cover an IUD, make sure you go to a provider that is in network. To do this, go to your insurance’s website. You should be able to plug in your insurance plan information and providers will pop up that are covered.
Make sure you are comfortable with that doctor. If they’re a new doctor, schedule a consultation with them. If you’d prefer a female doctor, let the office know when you schedule the appointment. Try to take control of this situation as much as possible.
If you do not have insurance OR your insurance does not cover an IUD, that’s okay!
Go to Healthcare.gov and sign up for the Affordable Care Act. There is still time to enroll, although not many days.
Or visit a Planned Parenthood. They will help you obtain birth control, regardless of your insurance status. Visit their website here to find a local PP.
And here are some other bits of information I found helpful for myself:
Research different types of IUDs. There are a few different ones, and they all depend on what you’re looking for. If you’re unsure which to go with, talk to your doctor about it. For instance, I had the Mirena inserted. This specific IUD is a Hormonal IUD, and will last for 5 years. Usually hormonal IUDs last for 3-5 years, with the non-hormonal copper IUD lasting up to 10 years. Basically an IUD can last through a Trump presidency.
Make sure you have nothing scheduled for afterwards. Your body, particularly your uterus, might be upset about having a new friend. Don’t schedule errands or plan to go back to work after the procedure. Just take it easy.
Take a pain reliever BEFORE going into the procedure. Seriously.
Make sure you have a hot water bottle at home. My hot water bottle created miracles with cramps, I’m tellin’ ya’.
The procedure can be painful. Do not let the idea of pain sway you from getting an IUD. The procedure hurt, and I had cramps for the rest of the day, but the next day I was perfectly fine. And also, my body and my experiences may be different than yours. Some women experience spotting for a few days to a month after the procedure. Some women get an infection following the procedure. While these things may just mean your uterus is adjusting to its new friend, this all goes back to knowing your body—if something feels off, do not ignore it. Pay attention to what your body is telling you, and talk to your doctor.
My IUD, uterus, and I are all getting along swimmingly (so far). I much prefer not having to remember to take a pill everyday, and most of the time I forget I even have the little thing working in me.
Remember, an IUD is not for everyone. Some uteruses just don’t like them. Again, PLEASE listen to your body to decide if its the right thing for you.
I hope this post helps at least one other person be able to take back their reproductive health.