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More Women Using IUDs, Implants, Guttmacher Study Shows

More Women Using IUDs, Implants, Guttmacher Study Shows

August 3, 2012 — An increasing number of U.S. women are choosing intrauterine devices or implants as their contraceptive method, although use of the methods continues to lag behind birth control pills and condoms, according to a Guttmacher Institute study published in Fertility & Sterility, Reuters reports.

Use of IUDs or implants -- the most effective reversible contraceptives -- increased to 8.5% of U.S. women in 2009, compared with just under 4% in 2007, the study found. In France and Norway, about 25% of women who use contraception opt for IUDs or implants, as do 41% of Chinese women, lead researcher Lawrence Finer noted.

Reasons for Shift

It is not entirely clear why more women are using IUDs and implants, but a number of factors probably contribute to the shift, Finer said. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has endorsed IUDs and implants, and advertising likely has increased women's awareness.

Additionally, more couples are seeking to postpone pregnancy until their 30s, which makes longer-acting methods desirable, Finer noted.

IUDs and implants are more effective than other reversible methods because they do not rely on women using them perfectly, he said. Between 0.2% and 0.8% of women with an IUD will have an unplanned pregnancy within a year, while the rate is 0.05% with a contraceptive implant. By contrast, birth control pills combined with condoms have a rate of 9% annually, and the rate is between 18% and 21% with condoms alone (Norton, Reuters, 8/2).