Planning for Life

The state of women's contraception options

The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that the oral contraceptive pill and female sterilization are the most widely used methods of birth control in the United States. But recent findings show women are increasingly choosing long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, much more frequently than they have in the past.

Here Alyssa Dweck, MD, a full-time, practicing ob-gyn at the Mt. Kisco Medical Group in Mt. Kisco, New York, talks about the latest trends and ongoing issues in women’s contraceptive planning.

How does the United States measure up in contraception trends with the rest of the world?

A recent study from the CDC and its National Center for Health Statistics shows that long-acting reversible contraception has increased five-fold over the last decade for women between ages 15 and 44. This is a big increase of about 6.5 percent. It seems that the percentage of women who use LARC has remained highest among women age 25 to 34, and its use is also highest in women who have had previous births.

Another study done by the Guttmacher Institute showed that in the United States the rate of unintended pregnancies is higher than in many other developed countries. Why do you think this is?

Well, numbers do show that more than half of the 6.6 million pregnancies in the United States are unintended. This is higher than it is in many other developed countries. While I don’t have any specific reasons, I would venture to guess that it would be very helpful to increase awareness, education and access to contraception in order to make this number decline. Researchers have shown that the contraception prevalence rate is expected to increase, not only in most developing countries, but also in the United States.

Continue reading at: