Retained Intrauterine Device in Pregnancy

Rebecca Meinke

Retained Intrauterine Device in Pregnancy


I would like to better understand the possibility of labor complications for mothers with retained IUDs in pregnancy. I know of the risks during early pregnancy such as ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, intrauterine infection, and placenta previa. However, I cannot find much information regarding the effects during labor and birth itself.

I have heard that a scheduled c-section is recommended for some moms due to the risk of placental abruption and hemorrhage. I am sure it depends greatly on where the IUD is lodged in relation to the placenta, but in general, what information have you found or experienced on this topic? I completely understand the benefits of spontaneous labor and vaginal birth and wonder specifically if there would be much risk to at least waiting for labor to begin before scheduling a c-section. If a mother truly desires a vaginal birth, then I also wonder if a more closely monitored labor would be a safe option (especially considering the alternative risks of cesarean section).

Thank you for your help in my search for answers.


Henci Goer

RE: Retained Intrauterine Device in Pregnancy
(in response to Rebecca Meinke)

Apologies for not replying sooner. I thought I was subscribed to all the topics on the forum, but I wasn't. I ran a search on "IUD pregnancy" in Medline Plus, the National Library of Medicine's consumer website, that turned up nothing. I ran a search on PubMed on "retained IUD" and turned up nothing about mode of delivery with an IUD in place other than a case report of cesarean delivery of triplets. The research discussion seems to be about whether it should removed in early pregnancy, for ex., in this review: Can you pin down where you saw or heard this recommendation?

Your post implies that you are pregnant with an IUD in place. If the window of time for deciding whether to remove the device is past, my advice would be to discuss the pros and cons of planned cesarean delivery vs. planned vaginal birth with an ob whose practice philosophy is to avoid cesarean delivery whenever it is safely possible. That way, you can trust the ob's judgment if she or he recommends planned cesarean delivery. How do you identify such a person? You can see if anyone is listed in your community on The Birth Survey. If there is an International Cesarean Awareness Network group in your area, you can check with them. Likewise if there is a Birth Network group. Many communities also have birth resource centers, and you can ask around there. This last one can be a bit tricky, though, as some centers may be purely commercially oriented.

~ Henci

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