Getting an IUD is a stressful decision: there are many pros and cons and plenty of scary stories out there to get you worrying. When I decided to get a hormonal Mirena IUD a few years ago, one of my main concerns was something I didn't see a lot of information on: what could happen to the IUD when I worked out.
It might sound like a weirdly specific question, but I didn't think it was that far-fetched. I did a lot of intense HIIT workouts filled with core-focussed jumping, twisting, and squatting exercises. Could an awkward movement cause the IUD to expel or perforate my uterus? Could it cause painful cramps? It seemed unlikely, but not impossible.
I've had my IUD for over four years now without any of those workout-related struggles (minus that first week of debilitating cramps), but it's a concern that's stayed on my mind. I didn't have those issues, but could they happen to others?
Can You Work Out With an IUD?
It's very safe to work out with an IUD, according to Laura Pineiro, MD, an ob/gyn with Northwestern Medicine. An IUD is placed in your intrauterine cavity, which she described as a small triangle of space within the muscle of your uterus. "Once it's there, it's not very likely that it's going to move and go somewhere else," Dr. Pineiro explained.
As a reminder, an IUD (intrauterine device) is a small, T-shaped instrument that sits in your uterus, with a string extending out through your cervix and into your vagina (just slightly). There's simply nowhere for it to go until the string is pulled, bringing in the arms of the IUD and allowing it to slide out of the cervix. That won't be happening when you work out.
"With an IUD in place, you can run, you can lift weights, you can swim. You can do any kind of exercise and it should be safe," Dr. Pineiro told POPSUGAR.
The only issue you might have when working out, she said, is if you experience the cramping, bleeding, or spotting that might occur with and IUD. (As a reminder, the copper Paragard IUD often causes heavier flow and more intense cramping. A hormonal IUD, such as Mirena, Skyla, or Kyleena, typically leads to a much lighter flow and can even cause your periods to stop altogether.)
It's not necessarily that working out can cause your IUD to move, expel from your body, or perforate your uterus, Dr. Pineiro clarified. It's just that if you do experience some abnormal bleeding and cramping, working out might be a bit less comfortable. Dr. Pineiro recommended taking ibuprofen or Motrin if you're having uncomfortable cramps. If the pain continues, see your care provider to discuss alternate solutions.
When Can I Exercise After an IUD Insertion?
After an IUD insertion, it's best to wait 24-48 hours before working out again, Dr. Pineiro said. That gives your body time to adjust to the IUD, moving past the cramping and soreness that can occur on the day of the insertion. (Most patients aren't exactly hopping out of the stirrups to go for a run or hit the weights anyway!)
But in general, if you're worried about your IUD affecting your workouts, you can breathe easy. This convenient and effective form of contraception should get along just fine with your fitness schedule.