To assess the incidence of visible strings of intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDs) after postplacental insertion following vaginal or caesarean delivery and to establish a management protocol of follow-up visits when strings are not visualised.Methods
This was a prospective study of a cohort of 348 women who underwent postplacental insertion of Copper-T 380A IUDs following vaginal or caesarean delivery, conducted at a hospital in New Delhi, India. Women were followed up at 6 weeks, 3, 6 and 12 months after IUD insertion and were questioned about IUD expulsion or removal at each visit. The cervix was inspected to visualise the IUD strings. All women whose IUD strings could not be visualised at the cervical os at any given follow-up were identified. We analysed the cumulative incidence of visible strings and of procedures performed to locate the IUD when strings were not visible.Results
At 1 year follow-up, the IUD was in situ in 313/348 (89.9%) women. There were eight (2.3%) expulsions and 15 (4.3%) IUD removals. Among women with IUDs in situ, the strings were not visible in 73 (21%) cases. Pelvic ultrasound confirmed intrauterine position of the IUDs in these cases. At 1 year, string visibility was significantly lower after intra-caesarean insertions as compared to vaginal insertions (72.4% vs 98.1%; p<0.05).Conclusions
Visualisation of strings after postplacental vaginal insertion is more common than after intra-caesarean insertion. Pelvic ultrasonography can be used to verify the presence of the device in cases of missing strings.