Originally published on May 24, 2012, on†bedsider.org.
In terms of effectiveness, not all birth control methods are created equal. And if there was any doubt as to which methods stand out in that arena, an article by the folks behind the Contraceptive CHOICE Project (just published in the New England Journal of Medicine) should put it to rest.
The Contraceptive CHOICE Project, a groundbreaking initiative by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, offered women in the St. Louis region access to any kind of birth control they wanted for free (swoon, right?), then looked at what method(s) the participants chose and how well their choices worked for them. The researchers found that when cost and lack of information aren’t an issue, women are way more likely to choose a super-effective method of birth control like the IUD or the implantóin fact 75% of the project’s participants chose one of those methods. This is great news since the researchers also found that those methods are way less likely to fail than other methods. Intrigued yet? Let us tell you more:
The bottom line? Methods like the implant and the IUD are special because they’re so, so low-maintenance. Women who use them are much more likely to stick with them than with higher-maintenance methods like the pill, the patch, and the ring. They require a little more effort up frontóa visit to the health care provider and possibly a higher initial costóbut, for most women, the long-term benefit is well worth it.
We think senior study author Jeffrey Peipert, MD, said it best: “If there were a drug for cancer, heart disease or diabetes that was 20 times more effective, we would recommend it first.” Hopefully health care providers will take the cue, but in the meantime, you can take the initiative by learning more about the implant (there’s a new model coming to town) and the IUD and talking to your provider about your options.
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