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More women using IUDs for birth control

  • Blog Post by: Colleen Stoxen
  • October 18, 2012 - 3:17 PM

The use of long-acting intrauterine devices (IUDs) has increased in the past decade, but 1 in 9 women at risk for unintended pregnancies is not using any birth control, according to a new government report.

Nearly 62% of women of reproductive age use contraception, with the pill preferred by 28% of women and female sterilization the choice of 27%, almost exactly the same proportions as in 1995, the National Center for Health Statistics found.

Use of IUDs rose to 5.6%, seven times the .8% in 1995, an increase that James Trussell, PhD, calls “striking.” Trussell is a faculty associate at Princeton University’s Office of Population Research. He was not involved in the study.

Depending on the type of IUD, the devices work for five years or 10 years and are more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Earlier this month, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Adolescent Health Care took a step toward clearing up the misconception that only women who’ve delivered children can use an IUD. The committee published an opinion paper concluding that teens, who are at high risk of unintended pregnancy, might benefit from greater access to long-acting reversible contraceptives, namely IUDs and contraceptive implants. The implants, tiny hormone-releasing rods inserted under the skin of the arm, are more than 99% effective and can be left in place for three years.

Researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the CDC, analyzed data from more than 12,000 women aged 15 to 44. They compared that information with data collected from nearly 11,000 women in 1995.

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