Women’s health care providers use most effective reversible contraceptive methods at a significantly higher rate than the general population.
New York, NY – A new study in the journal Contraception has found that contraceptive use among women’s health care providers is markedly different from that of women in the general population. The study surveyed a sample of nearly 500 female U.S. women’s health care providers ages 25–44 and compared their current method of birth control with women of the same age in the general public. Researchers found that 42 percent of women’s health care providers use a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) method like intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the contraceptive implant, compared to just 12 percent of women in the general population.
“The difference in contraceptive choices between providers and the general population is even higher than we expected,” said Dr. Ashlesha Patel, the principal investigator for the study. “This study shows that when it comes to their personal health care decisions, women’s health care providers are three and a half times more likely to choose IUDs and implants, which are the most effective reversible forms of contraception.”
Researchers at Planned Parenthood Federation of America conducted this study. Each year, Planned Parenthood participates in more than 70 research studies on topics ranging from abortion safety to HPV vaccine completion in order to pursue new and innovative solutions to improve health care outcomes and develop best practices for women’s health care overall.
“As a clinician, I’ve been asked many times by my patients what contraceptive method I use. The bottom line is that all women must make birth control decisions for themselves based upon full information and access without barriers, and that’s exactly the kind of patient-centered care women rely on Planned Parenthood and other family planning for,” said Lisa Stern, RN MSN, lead author of the study.
While this paper answers some curiosity women may have about the birth control methods their health care providers prefer, it’s important to note that IUD and implant use among all women is increasing in general. IUDs and implants now represent the third most commonly used category of reversible contraceptives among women ages 25-44, after the pill (19 percent) and condom (13 percent). The proportion of all contraceptive users ages 25-44 who relied on long-acting reversible contraception methods reached 12 percent in 2011–2013 and over the last five years, Planned Parenthood health centers have seen a 91 percent increase in the use of IUDs and implants.
“This paper builds upon a large and growing body of evidence that when women who want to prevent unintended pregnancy are empowered with full information about their contraceptive options — and when barriers such as up-front, out-of-pocket costs are not a factor — they often decide to use the most effective methods,” said Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Planned Parenthood offers patients information and education on the full range of options to help them make informed decisions about the contraceptive method that is best for them. Since 2012, Planned Parenthood health centers across the country must make all FDA-approved birth control methods, including IUDs and implants, available. And as the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood also provides millions of health care consumers with information about the benefits and risks of any specific birth control method and answers any questions they may have when helping each woman choose the method that’s best for her on its website.
With a 99 percent effectiveness rate, IUDs and implants are a great option for women who want to preserve their fertility but also desire long-term, highly effective pregnancy prevention. IUDs and implants are safe and highly effective birth control options for women of all ages, from young women who have not had children to women in their fifties who haven’t yet experienced menopause.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
February 23, 2015