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Long-Acting Options

Too Busy to Remember Birth Control? An IUD or implant may be just right for you.

Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs)

LARC methods include:

  • Intrauterine device (IUD) - small, T-shaped devices that are put into your uterus to prevent pregnancy
  • Implants - a thin, matchstick-sized plastic rod inserted under the skin of your upper arm.

LARCs are the most effective forms of reversible birth control. They're safe and effective for most women and teens, and can be removed at any time at a health center if you're ready to get pregnant.

Make an appointment with our knowledgeable staff to see if these options are right for you.

Note: LARCs do not protect against sexually transmitted infections. In order to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections, also use a condom during intercourse. 

Low Maintenance LARC Options

Mirena IUD

Mirena is a plastic IUD that releases a small amount of the synthetic hormone progestin to prevent sperm from reaching the cervix.

  • Effectiveness at preventing pregnancy: 99.9%
  • Lasts for up to 7 years

Paragard IUD

Paragard is an IUD made of copper

  • Contains no hormones
  • 98% effective in preventing pregnancy
  • Lasts for up to 12 years
  • Can be inserted as emergency contraception (details further down this page)

Nexplanon Implant

Nexplanon is a thin, matchstick-sized plastic rod that's implanted under the skin of your upper arm.

  • 99% effective in preventing pregnancy
  • Contains etonogestrel, a progestin hormone used in some birth control methods
  • Lasts up to 5 years

The Paragard IUD as Emergency Contraception

The Paragard (copper) IUD works super well as emergency contraception. If you get it put in within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex, it’s more than 99.9% effective. It’s actually the most effective way to prevent pregnancy after sex.

Another great thing about using the copper IUD as emergency contraception: you can keep it and have really effective birth control that you can use for up to 12 years. The other kind of emergency contraception is the morning-after pill. You can take it up to 5 days after unprotected sex to reduce the risk of pregnancy.

How do IUDs work?

What is an IUD? Learn About IUD Effectiveness | Planned Parenthood Video What is an IUD? Learn About IUD Effectiveness | Planned Parenthood Video

How do IUDs work?

Both copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs prevent pregnancy by changing the way sperm cells move so they can't get to an egg. If sperm can’t make it to an egg, pregnancy can’t happen.

The Paragard IUD uses copper to prevent pregnancy. Sperm doesn’t like copper, so the Paragard IUD makes it almost impossible for sperm to get to that egg.

The hormones in the Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta, and Skyla IUDs prevent pregnancy in two ways: 1) they thicken the mucus that lives on the cervix, which blocks and traps the sperm, and 2) the hormones also sometimes stop eggs from leaving your ovaries (called ovulation), which means there’s no egg for a sperm to fertilize. No egg, no pregnancy.

One of the awesome things about IUDs is that they last for years — but they’re not permanent. If you decide to get pregnant or you just don’t want to have your IUD anymore, your nurse or doctor can quickly and easily take it out. You’re able to get pregnant right after the IUD is removed.

How does the implant work?

Effectiveness of the Birth Control Implant in Your Arm | Planned Parenthood Video Effectiveness of the Birth Control Implant in Your Arm | Planned Parenthood Video

How does the implant work?

The birth control implant is a tiny, thin rod about the size of a matchstick. It’s also called Nexplanon and there’s a slightly older version called Implanon. A doctor inserts the implant under the skin of your upper arm. It releases the hormone progestin to stop you from getting pregnant.

The hormones in the birth control implant prevent pregnancy in two ways:

  • Progestin thickens the mucus on your cervix, which stops sperm from swimming through to your egg. When sperm can’t meet up with an egg, pregnancy can’t happen.

  • Progestin can also stop eggs from leaving your ovaries (called ovulation), so there’s no egg to fertilize. When eggs aren’t released, you can’t get pregnant.

One of the awesome things about the implant is that it lasts for a long time — up to 5 years — but it’s not permanent. If you decide you want to get pregnant or you just don’t want to have your implant anymore, your doctor can take it out. You’re able to get pregnant quickly after the implant is removed. You can keep track of your insertion and removal dates using our birth control app