Paragard is a prescription intrauterine device (IUD) used to help prevent pregnancy. Paragard is not safe to use while pregnant but is typically safe while breastfeeding.

Paragard is used to prevent pregnancy. It can cause serious harmful effects if you become pregnant while the device is inserted, especially if Paragard is not removed after you become pregnant.

Examples of these serious effects include:

Because of these risks, your doctor will likely want to remove Paragard as soon as possible if you become pregnant while the device is inserted.

Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of pregnancy while using Paragard. They’ll likely give you a pregnancy test to check whether you’re pregnant. If you are, your doctor can discuss your options with you.

Paragard and fertility

Paragard works to prevent pregnancy while it’s inside your uterus. After Paragard has been removed, your fertility (ability to become or stay pregnant) should return to normal.

If you become pregnant while using Paragard, contact your doctor right away. Becoming pregnant while using Paragard can result in serious harmful effects that can affect your fertility. In very rare cases, these complications can result in infertility. Your doctor can provide more information on these effects and possible ways to lower your risk.

If you’re concerned about how Paragard could affect your fertility, talk with your doctor.

If you’re currently breastfeeding or planning to do so, it’s important to understand the effects Paragard could have on you or your child.

It should be safe to breastfeed while you have Paragard inserted.

The active ingredient in Paragard is copper. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) Studies haven’t shown any differences in the amount of copper in human breast milk before or after having Paragard inserted.

But if Paragard is inserted while you’re producing breast milk, you may have a higher risk for embedment or perforation. (With embedment, the IUD attaches to the wall of your uterus. And with perforation, the IUD pushes through the wall of your uterus.) Embedment and perforation are rare but serious side effects of Paragard.

If you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed after having Paragard inserted, talk with your doctor. They can discuss the risks and benefits of using Paragard while breastfeeding.

The sections above describe the reproductive health information provided by the drug’s manufacturer. If your doctor prescribes Paragard for you, they can provide more details.

Examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor include:

  • Does Paragard start working right away, or should I use another form of birth control until it starts working?
  • Do other IUDs have similar risks to Paragard if you become pregnant while using them?
  • How soon after giving birth can I have Paragard inserted?

To learn more about Paragard, see these articles:

To get information on different conditions and tips for improving your health, subscribe to any of Healthline’s newsletters. You may also want to check out the online communities at Bezzy. It’s a place where people with certain conditions can find support and connect with others.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.