Family Planning Program in Kenya: IUD 101

In West Pokot, Kenya, we are implementing a family planning program out of Kapenguria District Hospital, as only 23% of women use any form of contraception; A very low number due to lack of access, funding, and misconceptions about contraceptives. We train local healthcare providers and patients on the importance of contraception, and provide hormonal and cooper IUDs to women free of charge. Here are some common questions around IUDs.
Q: What is an IUD?
A: An IUD (intra-uterine device) is a small t-shaped plastic device attached to a small string that is inserted into and left inside the uterus in order to space or limit pregnancies. The IUD is long acting (effective for around 5-10 years) and completely reversible. IUDs are a great way for the mother to space her births, minimize birth related complications, recover after delivery, have as many babies as she wants, and provide for all of her children!
Q: How do IUDs work?
A: IUDs mainly work by preventing fertilization of the egg by the sperm. It is over 99% effective in spacing or limiting pregnancies.
Q: What is the difference between the Mirena and Paragard IUD?
A: The Mirena IUD (effective for up to 5 years) releases a progestin hormone called levonorgestrel. The Paragard IUD (effective for up to 10 years) does not release hormones and is made out of copper. They have similar effectiveness and therefore choosing one is based off of a women’s preference.

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