What is it?
- A small, soft, flexible, plastic T shaped device that fits inside the womb.
- It is easily inserted by a trained health care professional.
How does it work?
- Prevents sperm surviving in the womb and fallopian tubes and stops fertilisation of an egg.
- Prevents implantation of a fertilised egg in the womb lining.
What’s great about it?
- Is safe and extremely effective (99%) in preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex.
- It can be kept in place as an ongoing form of contraception for 5-10 years .
- Otherwise it's easily removed when you get your next period.
- Does not cause abortion.
- Doesn’t contain hormones.
- Fertility rapidly returns after it is removed.
- Can be used by women who have never had a baby.
What’s not so great about it?
- No protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) - condoms advised.
- If the coil can't be fitted immediately you may need to take the emergency pill as well.
- Insertion can be slightly uncomfortable but local anaesthetic reduces this.
- Can become displaced or fall out (expulsion) but this is uncommon (5 in 100).
- There is a small risk of pelvic infection for up to 3 weeks after insertion. You may be given antibiotics at the fitting to prevent this.
- Very small risk of perforating the womb or cervix (1 in 500).
Where can I get it?
- Family planning clinics, sexual health clinics and a few GP surgeries.