"It's easy to forget a pill every day and it's time-consuming to use something every time you have sex," says Christina, a 36-year-old married mother of three children. "I just wish there were more birth control options for women." Like many married women in their 30s and 40s, Christina wonders if there is an easier alternative besides surgery to remove her uterus or a daily pill. One alternative is an intrauterine device, more commonly known as an IUD.

What Is an IUD?  

The modern IUD is a very small T-shaped piece of plastic that is inserted into a woman's uterus by a doctor. It is about as thin as a toothpick and as long as a small paper clip. Two short pieces of specialized thread hang from its end through the cervix so the doctor can easily remove it when it is no longer needed. The IUD prevents pregnancy just as well as birth control pills or getting your tub