An Australian mother has told of the terrifying moment she was left ‘bleeding to death’ after having a common contraceptive device inserted.
Shannon Hubbard, from Bundaberg, chose to have a Mirena IUD fitted after the birth of her son, Harrison.
The popular hormone-releasing device is over 99 per cent effective at preventing pregnancy for up to five years.
Women who have the device fitted are often told to expect some light bleeding, but Shannon was alarmed when she began filling a ‘maternity-sized pad’ with blood every 30 minutes.
‘When I was losing that much blood with large clots, I knew something was wrong,’ Shannon tells the Bundaberg News Mail.
‘I went to emergency, and by the time they got me to a bed I had bled through the maternity pad, my pants, and the wheelchair seat was covered in blood.’
The IUD was removed but Shannon’s condition worsened.
She suffered haemorrhagic shock and began drifting in and out of consciousness.
‘I went really cold. I remember being freezing and physically shaking because so much blood had left my body, and that's the moment that was most traumatic,’ she says.
‘I was worried my eight-week-old baby wouldn't remember me if I died.’
After two failed surgeries, medics found large haematoma - a solid swelling of clotted blood - and a 4cm tear, the mum explained.
While blood transfusions and a further operation finally saved her life – Shannon spent nine days in hospital.
Shannon tells New Idea she’s sharing her story because she wants women to be able to make ‘informed decisions’.
Shannon says the fact her uterus ‘retroverted’ – which means it is tilted – and she had recently given birth meant she was at greater risk of complications from having the device inserted.
‘I want women to be aware of the increased risks because the GP did not discuss this with me and it likely would have changed my mind,’ Shannon tells New Idea.
IUDs – the facts
According to Marie Stopes Australia, an IUD is a good option for women who want a ‘set-and-forget’ method of contraception as they are more than 99 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy.
They last between five to ten years, depending on type chosen and a woman’s chances of getting pregnant return to normal as soon as it is removed.
Nylon strings attached to the IUD can be adjusted to suit your body and should not be felt by either partner during sex.
Perforation of the wall of the uterus is a very rare occurrence with IUDs - according to The Royal Women's Hospital in Victoria - but it may happen when the IUD is being inserted.
Anyone experiencing concerns after the insertion of the device should seek medical advice.