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Birth Control Health Center

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IUDs Increasingly Popular Form of Birth Control

By Rita Rubin
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 18, 2012 -- While the use of long-acting intrauterine devices (IUDs) is increasing, 1 in 9 women at risk for unintended pregnancies is not using any birth control, according to a new government report.

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.

Nearly two-thirds, or 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.

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.

Teens Turning to More Effective Birth Control

Teens increasingly have turned to hormonal contraceptives such as the pill and away from condoms, the new report shows. Since 1995, there was a 45% decline in the use of condoms as the main form of birth control by young women 15 to 19 years old, researchers found. That change, along with the increased use of contraceptives the first time they have intercourse, and using more than one method at a time, such as the pill and condoms, have been credited with the recent decline in teen birth rates, the researchers write.

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