IUD vs. the Pill: Birth Control Methods

When it comes to preventing pregnancy, implementing birth control methods is key. There are numerous birth control options available to women; some are consumed orally, others need to be administered with the help of healthcare professionals, and some can last longer than others. The most known contraception methods debate is between IUD vs. the pill.

Both options are highly effective and have their own unique features and benefits. In this article, our abortion clinic in Fort Lauderdale, FL, will delve into the details of each method, analyzing its effectiveness, cost, potential side effects, convenience, and more. By understanding the differences between IUD and birth control pill, you can make an informed decision about which one suits your needs best.

iud vs pill

Which one is more effective?

Understanding the IUD

The IUD – a small T-shaped device – is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are two main types of IUDs: hormonal and copper.

Hormonal IUDs release progestin, which thickens cervical mucus and thins the uterine lining, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg. On the other hand, copper IUDs release copper ions, which are toxic to sperm and prevent fertilization. Once inserted, the hormonal IUD can prevent pregnancy for up to five years, while the copper IUD lasts up to ten years. The effectiveness of IUDs is exceptional, with a failure rate of less than 1%, which leads to 99% success.

The Pill: an overview

Birth control pills, also known as “the pill,” are oral contraceptives that contain hormones (progestin or a combination of progestin and estrogen) that prevent ovulation. It’s essential to differentiate “the pill” from the abortion pill. Birth control pills prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation (the release of the egg each month), thickening cervical mucus, and creating a hostile environment for sperm, preventing it from reaching the egg. On the other hand, the abortion pill is prescribed by healthcare professionals to terminate a pregnancy. 

The effectiveness of women’s birth control pills depends on consistency in taking the pill, proper use, and the type of birth control. When taken correctly, meaning the individual sticks to the daily dosing schedule, it has a failure rate of around 1–9%, making it a highly reliable form of birth control. Unlike the IUD, the pill’s effectiveness depends on daily adherence and taking the pills at the same time each day.

There are different types of contraceptive pills, including a birth control pill combination (containing both progestin and estrogen) and progestin-only pills (commonly known as the “mini-pill”). The choice between methods will depend on various factors, including medical history and individual preferences.

What are their differences when it comes to cost?

When it comes to exploring the differences between an IUD vs. the pill, one of the most frequently asked questions is Which one is more convenient in terms of cost? Let’s discuss this further.


An IUD’s upfront cost is generally higher than the birth control pill. The price of an IUD can range from $500 to $1000 or more, depending on the type of IUD you choose. That fee typically includes the cost of the IUD device itself and the insertion procedure, which a healthcare provider typically performs.

Despite the higher upfront cost, IUDs often provide cost savings in the long run. Once the IUD is inserted, it offers continuous protection for several years, depending on the type of IUD. Hormonal IUDs can last about three to five years, while copper IUDs can last up to ten years. That means that after the initial investment, you don’t need to worry about additional expenses for contraception over an extended period.

Depending on your plan, your health insurance company may cover the insertion and purchase of an IUD. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the United States, insurance plans are required to cover FDA-approved contraceptive methods, including IUDs. Additionally, specific brands or types of IUDs may be covered differently by insurance; it’s crucial to check with your insurance company to understand the extent of your coverage.

The Pill

The upfront cost of birth control pills is relatively low. Some brands of generic pills can cost as little as $20 per month, while brand-name pills might be more expensive. This cost represents the monthly purchase of birth control pills.

The long-term cost of these pills can add up over time. Since you must take the pill daily and never miss a day, you must purchase a new pack every month. Costs vary depending on the specific type and brand of pill.

Similarly to the IUD, the ACA also mandates insurance coverage for FDA-approved contraceptive pills, including generic and brand-name options. Birth control pills should be covered without cost-sharing, meaning that the pills should be provided at no cost with minimal out-of-pocket expenses for the individual.

Potential Side Effects

When it comes to analyzing the pros and cons of birth control methods, including many other contraceptive control options beyond the ones discussed in this article, we can’t forget to mention potential side effects. Almost all birth control methods come with a list of common adverse effects. 

IUD’s adverse effects

As with any other medical procedure or measurement, the insertion of the IUD comes with some common side effects, such as irregular bleeding, cramping, changes in menstrual flow, and back pain.

In some cases, women may experience other rare but severe side effects, such as:

  1. Infection: Although uncommon, the IUD can increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of the reproductive organs.
  2. Perforation: In sporadic cases, the IUD might perforate the uterine wall during insertion. That is a serious complication that may require surgical intervention. That is why leaving IUD insertion to healthcare professionals is crucial. 
  3. Ectopic pregnancy: While highly effective when it comes to preventing pregnancy, if pregnancy occurs with an IUD in place, there is a higher risk of it being ectopic, which means the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus.

The pill’s adverse effects

IUDs and birth control pills both can cause side effects, though they vary for each individual. Common side effects of the pill may include nausea, breast tenderness, irregular bleeding, acne, and mood changes. On the bright side, most women experience those side effects only when they start taking the pill; side effects commonly disappear when the body gets used to the hormones. Unfortunately, some women may experience some rare, uncommon, and dangerous side effects as well, such as:

  1. Blood Clots: Combined hormonal birth control pills (containing both estrogen and progesterone) have been associated with a slightly increased risk of blood clots, which can be severe or even life-threatening if not treated.
  2. Stroke and heart attack: The risk of stroke and heart attack is higher in women using combined hormonal birth control, particularly in those with heart risk factors, such as hypertension.
  3. High blood pressure: The pill may sometimes raise blood pressure; it’s essential you monitor your blood pressure levels when you start taking the pill.

Which method is more convenient?

The convenience factor plays a significant role in the decision-making process for contraceptive options. Let’s dive into it.


The insertion of an intrauterine device is a relatively simple procedure that a healthcare provider usually performs in a clinical setting.

First, the patient has a consultation with a healthcare provider. They can schedule an appointment to insert the device when the procedure is approved. To start the procedure, the patient lies down on an exam table, and the doctor introduces the IUD through the cervix into the uterus using a thin, flexible inserter. After the insertion, the healthcare professional will ensure the IUD is correctly positioned within the uterus through a pelvic exam or ultrasound.

The Pill

As we talked about before, the pill is an oral contraceptive. Birth control pills come in packs with 21 active pills containing hormones and seven inactive (placebo) pills.

To start using the pill, you must take the first active pill on the first day of your menstrual cycle (day one of your period). To continue the process, you have to take one active pill at the same time each day. Once you are done consuming the active pills, you move on to the placebo pills during the placebo week – that’s when you will get your period. Lastly, start a new pack after the placebo week and follow the exact same instructions. 

The duration of use for birth control pills is continuous as long as you wish to prevent pregnancy or manage certain medical conditions.

In contrast to the IUD, no medical intervention is needed, and the cost of each pack of pills is lower. However, you must remember to purchase the pills every month and take your pill each day. The pill method is not very convenient for those who quickly forget to take the pill every day, at the same time. On the other hand, with the IUD, you can continue your life with a free-contraception schedule. 

Which one should I choose?

Deciding between IUD vs. the pill as your preferred method of birth control depends on various factors, including your individual preferences, lifestyle, medical considerations, and contraceptive needs.

When deciding, you should consider the long-term vs. short-term benefits of each one, their convenience, side effects, hormonal preferences, effectiveness, flexibility, insertion process, and insurance coverage.

It is essential to discuss your options with a healthcare provider who can provide professional and personalized guidance based on their experience, and your medical history and individual needs.

Final thoughts

Choosing between IUD vs. The Pill is a personal decision that requires careful consideration. Both options offer reliable birth control methods but cater to different preferences and lifestyles. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to discuss your needs and explore the most suitable type of birth control for you. Do you have any questions about which birth control method you should choose? Contact us at our abortion clinic; our dedicated team will assess your situation and provide you with professional guidance.