According to a new United States government report, birth control methods such as IUDs (intrauterine devices) or under-the-skin implants have increased fivefold since 2002. Among women between the ages of 15 and 44, the use of these long-term but reversible contraceptives increased from 1.5 percent in 2002 to 7.2 percent in 2011. This report was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Scientists from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) consider that these methods are now very popular due to their safety and proven ability to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
IUDs were widely used by women in the 1970s; however, issues with the safety of the product led to a decline in their use and an increase in the use of birth control pills. Though, since then, medical technology has improved the quality of IUDs and they have gained popularity. Moreover, under-the-skin implants have been one of the most popular forms of contraception because of research done about the lasting effects, leading to the conclusion that it will prevent pregnancies for years.
Amy Branum, chief of reproductive statistics at the NCHS and lead researcher of the study, explained long-acting contraceptives currently signify a fast-growing portion of contraception use by American women. Although more research is needed to confirm future trends, she stated contraceptives like IUDs and implants will undoubtedly be beneficial in reducing unwanted pregnancies, particularly among women ages 20 to 34.
Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, agreed that the new study proves women now prefer IUDs and implants, which are possibly the best contraceptive options for the prevention of pregnancies, over the traditional pill form of birth control. Nucatola explained IUDs and implants are safe for nearly all women, including teens, those who have not had children, and those who want to delay the start of the process of beginning their families for a few years.
According to Nucatola, the one big advantage of these methods is that women will not need to remember to take their daily pill. Therefore, once the IUD or the implant is inserted in the body, women can forget all about it, she said.
It is important, however, to know that IUDs and implants do not protect women against sexually transmitted diseases. She explained using condoms and using another form of birth control is the best method to prevent unintended pregnancies and STDs.
Regarding the overall usage of IUDs and implants, the CDC stated that currently there is less of a difference between usage rates between ethnic and racial groups. The use of IUDs and implants is now prevalent in all demographics.
Dr. Jill Rabin, co-chief of ambulatory care of the Women’s Health Programs –PCAP Services at North Shore – LIJ Health System, believes that long-acting contraceptive methods, such as IUDs and implants, are now the safest and most reliable forms of birth control. There are over 500,000 unwanted pregnancies each year in the United States, half of which end in abortion. Such high numbers are prompting those in the medical field to give women more information on long-term forms of birth control to stop the trend.
By Alex Lemieux
Photo by Annabelle Shemer – Flickr License