What do you mean by “long-acting maintenance-free birth control?”
We mean Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants (Nexplanon), a category birth control commonly referred to as long-acting reversible contraception or LARCs. These devices are inserted or implanted then left in place for 4-12 years. It is important to have them checked by your healthcare provider at regular intervals, but there is little or no other maintenance required. These forms of birth control can also be removed (by a healthcare provider) when you decide they are no longer necessary.
What is an IUD?
An IUD is an Intrauterine Device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It can remain in the uterus for up to 12 years depending on which IUD you choose. IUDs are removable, at any point the IUD can be removed, if it is not right for you or you decide you want to get pregnant. An IUD should only be removed by a healthcare professional. There are five different IUDs that you and your healthcare professional can choose from. IUDs prevent pregnancy by changing the way sperm move, if they can’t move, they can’t make it to the egg, and so, no pregnancy. Visit this website for more details on IUDs.
Are LARCs safe?
There are potential complications with all medications and medical devices. IUDs and Implants are generally considered quite safe, there are very few contraindications. Please have a candid conversation with your healthcare provider to make sure these are safe options for you. Visit this website for more information.
What is a Hormonal Implant?
A Hormonal Implant (Nexplanon) is a small device, about the size of a match that is inserted into the skin in your upper arm by a healthcare professional. It releases hormones into your body to prevent pregnancy. This is a “get it and forget about it” type of birth control, that lasts up to 5 years. Visit this website for more information.
What are the side effects of LARCs?
Side effects and complications for both are rare and mostly include pain or discomfort upon insertion and for a few days after. Your periods may become lighter or disappear completely. Please consult your healthcare provider for more side effects. Visit this website for more information.
Do LARCs protect against STIs?
No, neither IUDs or Implants protect against STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections). Condoms, when used every time you have sex are the defense against STIs.
What if I want to get pregnant someday?
One of the great things about IUDs and Hormonal Implants are that while they last for years, they are not permanent. If you decide you want to get pregnant or that you don’t want it in anymore, it is easily removable by your healthcare professional, and fertility returns quickly after removal. DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE IT ON YOUR OWN!
Which form of contraception is right for me?
This is a matter best discussed between you and your healthcare professional. You can also visit this website for more detailed info on each form of birth control, so you can go to your appointment prepared.
Does getting an IUD or Implant hurt?
To be completely honest, it can. Although for most women the pain subsides rather quickly. Be ready for some site-specific pain and perhaps uterine cramping if you get an IUD.
Why should a woman choose a LARC over other cheaper forms of birth control?
LARCs protect women from getting pregnant for 4 to 12 years depending on the device chosen. These devices have proven 20 times more effective in practice than other forms of birth control. They also require no maintenance once in place.
Why are LARCs more effective than other forms of birth control?
LARCs are user-friendly. Once the LARC is in place, a woman no longer has to remember to do anything to prevent pregnancy. She only has to act if she Chooses When to have a child.
Why don’t more women use LARCs?
Although less expensive in the long run, an IUD or hormonal implant can cost as much as $1,000. While many uninsured women can pull together the $25 a month or so for less effective forms of birth control, the initial cost of a LARC is more than most can afford.