More women are choosing Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC) methods, including intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormone implants, according to data recently release by the CDC.
Out of 60.9 million women ages 15 to 44 included in the study, 61.7% were using birth control from 2011 to 2013. While the percentage of women using birth control hasn’t changed much since 2010, the number of women choosing LARC methods nearly doubled from 3.8% in 2006 to 2010 to 7.2% in 2011 to 2013.
The pill was still the most common method at 16%, followed by female sterilization at 15.5% then male condoms at 9.4%. Within the 7.2% of women using LARC methods, women between the ages of 25–34 were using it most (11.1%) compared to those 35–44 (5.3%) and 15–24 (5%).
IUDs and implants have three major advantages over other birth control methods. They provide long-term protection (up to 12 years in some cases), but after they are removed, women can become pregnant rather quickly.
They are also highly effective. With a failure rate of less than 1%, they are a more reliable form of birth control than male condoms (18% failure rate) and birth controls pills (9% failure rate). Perhaps the most substantial difference is unlike a pill or condom, once a LARC device is active, it’s effective 24/7.
The Washington Post stated in a recent article, “The IUD and other long-acting reversible methods have been gaining favor again as doctors recognize them as one of the safest and most effective forms of birth control.”
The piece also referenced a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that revealed interesting data on the younger LARC-using population. When teens were well-informed about each method’s benefits, risks and effectiveness rates and when financial and educational boundaries were removed, they are 16 times more likely to choose a LARC.