IUDs and implants are changing birth control landscape

November 5, 2012 • Family Planning, HIV/AIDS, Reproductive Health, United States, News

The following story, which reports on the resurgence in popularity of long-acting reversible contraceptive technology for women, such as hormone implants and intrauterine devices, was published in the USA Today on Tuesday, October 30th, 2012.

IUDs and implants are changing birth control landscape

Long-acting reversible contraceptives are gaining new popularity.

By Kim Painter
See: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/29/iud-implants-birth-control/1644647/

7:23AM EDT October 30. 2012 – Leah Sanchez, 26, of Los Angeles is a married woman who wants kids someday, but not now. Crystal Nelson, 31, of St. Louis is single, doesn’t have kids and doesn’t plan to have any. And Lydia Huston, 44, of Florrisant, Mo., is a married mother of three who has decided her family is large enough.

These women have one thing in common: They all are using birth control methods that are gaining new popularity in the USA.

The methods, known collectively as “long-acting reversible contraceptives” or LARCs, are intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal arm implants. A decade ago, such methods were used by just 2.4% of U.S. women who used any method, but by 2009, they had caught on with 8.5%, with IUDs leading the way by a large margin, according to a recent study from the non-profit Guttmacher Institute. New federal data show the same trend.

And that trend is likely to pick up steam in the next few years, family planning experts say.

One reason: Under the new federal health law, insurers must cover all contraceptive methods, meaning the high up-front cost of IUDs and implants (estimated at $500 to $1,000) will disappear for many women. Meanwhile, the influential American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has started recommending these methods as first-line contraceptives, not only for adult women but for teens.

The impact could be big, suggests one recent study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology: When 9,000 teens and women in the St. Louis area were offered no-cost birth control, 75% chose IUDs and implants – and teen pregnancies and abortions fell dramatically, compared to national rates. Earlier, data from the same study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that IUDs and implants, with a yearly failure rate of about 0.3 per 100 users, worked up to 20 times better than hormonal pills, patches and rings to prevent pregnancy among participants – who included Nelson, Huston and Sanchez.

When cost is not a barrier, “we learned what is most important to women is that a method works really well,” says researcher Jeffrey Peipert, of Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. “And many women liked the idea that these were long-term methods. They could get it and forget it.”

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/29/iud-implants-birth-control/1644647/

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