The Guttmacher Institute estimates that 5.5 percent of American women choose the IUD as their method of birth control. When choosing an IUD, you have the choice between the Mirena, a hormonal IUD, and the Paragard, a copper, non-hormonal IUD. The Paragard works by blocking the sperm from fertilizing the egg and preventing implantation into the uterine wall. If you've opted for a Paragard IUD as your method of birth control, it likely won't restrict your physical activity -- even if you want to attempt high intensity workouts.
When you and your gynecologist decide that an IUD is the best choice for your birth control, you'll have an appointment scheduled for the insertion. The insertion process takes about five minutes. Your doctor will use a speculum to widen the vaginal opening, and then insert the IUD past your vagina and cervix and into your uterus. The insertion process is only mildly painful and that pain can be easily managed with over the counter medication. You may experience cramping in the first few hours after insertion, and while it shouldn't limit your physical activity, you may prefer to rest for the first few hours.
The only part of using an IUD that could limit the intensity of your workouts is the possibility of side effects. While the side effects of the Paragard are usually mild, they could make you feel uncomfortable when exercising. Premenstrual-like cramping and spotting are the most common side effects, but you can wear a tampon as soon as you'd like after the insertion to help control spotting. The side effects will begin to subside in the two to four weeks following the insertion.
The Paragard IUD requires no special aftercare when it comes to physical activity. As soon as you feel comfortable after the insertion, you can begin exercising at the intensity of your choice. Cramps may slow you down, but as they subside you'll find that you can resume your workouts. Some intense workouts that you can try include running, kickboxing, swimming and dancing -- all of which can be enjoyed after having your Paragard inserted.
The Paragard can protect you from unwanted pregnancy for 10 years, but you'll need to have a checkup six weeks to two months after insertion. Your doctor will ensure that your IUD is properly in place and that the strings are trimmed to the ideal length. While exercise cannot dislodge the Paragard IUD, you can check for its positioning by feeling for the strings within the vagina with a clean finger. So long as you feel the strings, your IUD is in place and is protecting you from pregnancy, no matter what your athletic level.