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How soon is Paragard effective?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Sep 5, 2023.

Official answer


Once in place inside a woman’s uterus, Paragard is effective immediately.

Paragard is a small, T-shaped, intrauterine, non-hormonal contraceptive device that works by continuously releasing a small number of copper ions into the uterine cavity which prevents pregnancy. These copper ions change the fluid within the fallopian tube and the uterus immediately, disrupting the motility of sperm and making them unable to fertilize an egg. Paragard may also prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg.

How soon after Paragard is inserted can I have intercourse?

After Paragard is inserted you need to wait for 24 hours before having sex or inserting tampons.

What is Paragard made of?

Paragard is a small T-shaped intrauterine device (also called an IUD) made of soft, flexible plastic that is inserted into a woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy. The horizontal bar of the device is wrapped in thin copper wire and each bar of the T has a copper collar.

Copper is a mineral that occurs naturally in food and our environment. It has been FDA approved for over 30 years and found to be safe and effective. Copper also has antimicrobial properties and will help protect against bacteria and viruses.

Paragard weighs less than 1gm and measures 32mm horizontally, 36mm vertically, and has a 3mm diameter bulb at the top of the vertical stem. A very thin thread is tied through the tip, which results in two white threads hanging down, which make detection and removal of the device easier. The T-frame of the device contains barium sulfate which enables it to be seen under x-ray. Paragard does not contain natural rubber latex.

Paragard belongs to the class of devices called intrauterine copper contraceptives.


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