Friday, February 6th, 2015
Women who opt for intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants as birth control may be able to use the contraceptives longer — and with the same effectiveness — than the recommended end date, according to a new study.
The research, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, confirms that three types of hormonal IUDs and implants (Mirena, Implanon, and Nexplanon) can last a year longer than what is currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
An IUD (like Mirena) is a small T-shaped piece of plastic that is inserted directly into the uterus for up to five years; implants (like Implanon and Nexplanon) are matchstick-sized plastic rods that are inserted into the arm for up to three years.
“Both implants and IUDs work by releasing small doses of a synthetic version of the female sex hormone progestin, which keeps ovaries from releasing eggs,” notes CBS News. “There’s only a certain amount of a progestin available in these devices, which is why the FDA sets an expiration date.”
By extending the lifetime of these devices, women and health care companies could save money, but manufacturers may be reluctant to endorse extensions that could cause them to sell fewer contraceptives.
Researchers followed 800 women between the ages of 18 and 45, which included 263 women with IUDs and 237 with implants. The women were examined for one year after their device expired. “There were no pregnancies in the implant group and only one pregnancy in the IUD group, a failure rate similar to that of hormonal IUDs within the approved five years of use,” reports Health Day.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her adorable baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Woman holding IUD via Shutterstock
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Friday, January 3rd, 2014
A new study has found that women who use long-term birth control methods like intrauterine devices (IUDs) after having a baby are less likely to become pregnant again quickly than women who rely on other methods of birth control. More from Reuters:
The World Health Organization endorses a two-year period between birth and a woman’s next conception.
Still, one third of all repeat pregnancies in the U.S. occur within 18 months of the previous child’s birth. And a growing body of evidence shows this close timing increases the risk a baby will be born early or at a low birth weight.
The time between pregnancies “cannot be explained only by the mother’s preferences,” Heike Thiel de Bocanegra said.
She and her colleagues from the University of California, San Francisco investigated the link between access to birth control or family planning services and pregnancy spacing.
In the current study of 117,644 California women who’d had at least two children, 64 percent waited 18 months or more between pregnancies and the rest did not.
All women included in the study filed claims through the state’s Medicaid program for the poor, called Medi-Cal, or through health providers offering state-funded family planning services.
The researchers matched data on claims for contraceptives to California’s birth registry.
“We assumed that access to contraception . . . would improve birth spacing,” Dr. Anitra Beasley wrote in an email to Reuters Health.
“This study actually examines this assumption,” she said.
Beasley, who studies family planning at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, was not part of the current research.
Women who used long-acting reversible contraception, including IUDs or implants, were four times more likely to wait at least 18 months to conceive again, compared to those who only used “barrier” contraceptives like condoms or spermicide.
More than half of women started using birth control pills, the ring or the patch after giving birth. They were twice as likely to wait at least 18 months between pregnancies as condom users.
Those relationships stood firm even when the researchers looked at possible influences like the mother’s race, education, age and whether she was born in the U.S., according to the report published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Image: Birth control words, via Shutterstock
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