What Happens if I Become Pregnant While Using Mirena IUD?

Believe it or not, it is possible to become pregnant while using the Mirena IUD (Intrauterine Device).  No form of birth control, with the exception of tubal ligation, will prevent pregnancy 100% of the time.  According to the Mirena website, 8 in 1,000 women who use the IUD can can expect to become pregnant over the course of five years.    A Mirena IUD pregnancy is most likely to occur if the device moves or migrates from its original location

Often, women who become pregnant while using the Mirena IUD will experience an ectopic pregnancy, especially if the device has migrated.  An ectopic pregnancy is a dangerous type of pregnancy in which the embryo implants in the fallopian tubes or somewhere other than the uterus.  However, even a Mirena pregnancy that occurs in the uterus can be dangerous. A woman who becomes pregnant or suspects they are pregnant while using the Mirena IUD should seek medical attention immediately, as a Mirena pregnancy can put their fertility at risk, and may even be life-threatening. 

Mirena IUD and Ectopic Pregnancy
Most ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tubes, but embryos have been known to implant in the cervix, ovary and even the belly.  If the egg keeps growing in the fallopian tube, it can damage or burst the tube and cause heavy bleeding that could be deadly.  Unfortunately, there is no way to save an ectopic pregnancy. If it is allowed to progress, a Mirena ectopic pregnancy can cause internal bleeding, infertility and even death.  As such, an ectopic pregnancy almost always requires emergency surgery to remove the embryo.

Early on, victims of a Mirena ectopic pregnancy may experience symptoms common to any pregnancy, including a missed period, breast tenderness and nausea. Other symptoms that are typical of an ectopic pregnancy include:

  • Pain in pelvis and abdomen, usually described as sharp or stabbing.Similar pain in the shoulder and neck (this will occur if an ectopic pregnancy has  ruptured ectopic pregnancy, due to the build up of blood under the diaphragm).
  • Vaginal bleeding.
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Dizziness, light-headedness or fainting.

Other Mirena Pregnancies
If a woman becomes pregnant while on Mirena, she will face serious risks even if the pregnancy develops in her uterus.  If the device is left in place during the pregnancy, it can cause infection, miscarriage, a premature birth, or death of the mother.   A doctor will likely recommend that the Mirena IUD be removed in such cases.  However, the removal of the IUD does present a risk of miscarriage.  If a doctor is unable able to remove the Mirena IUD, the patient will need to be informed of the risks and benefits associated with continuation of the pregnancy.


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