Doctors Are Kind Of All Over The Place About When Ladies Can Get IUDs

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The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology may be in agreement about IUDs being safe and reliable contraception for nearly all ladies (including teenagers and women who have just have babies). But a recent survey of family planning clinics in Colorado and Iowa found doctors to be somewhat divided. And therefore clueless.

Msnbc reports that Claire Brindis, a director of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco, and her colleagues reviewed information from 273 health practitioners (including doctors, nurses, doctor’s assistants, and certified nurse midwives). Brindis and her team specifically took a look at surveys from 2010 and 2012 when family planning clinics were attempting to educate health care providers on IUD use.

Those education initiatives eventually yielded a strong percentage of doctors saying that most postpartum ladies could safely use a IUD (barring pelvic infections). Researchers noted that the original 37 percent rose to 50 percent over those two years. But Brindis maintains that that’s not enough:

“We still have a long way to go to have a wide acceptance,” Brindis said. IUDs are often considered a “last resort” for birth control, but there is no need to view them this way, she said.

Consider also that 30 percent of those doctors who participated said that IUDs were not safe for women who had just had abortions, which the ACOG refuted last year. Researchers in this same study also concluded that these findings should not be considered isolated:

Moreover, health careproviders at family planning clinics are likely more informed about IUD use than the average doctor. Therefore, the misconceptions among doctors in general could be even more widespread…For patients, the message is: know the facts about IUDs, Brindis said.

IUDs may be the most birth control insurance a woman can buy (we’re talking 99 percent effective against unplanned pregnancy, so the equiavelent of sterilization according to one report). But it seems that only ladies who can wield that Google search engine are 100 percent likely to understand that fact.

(photo: Patricia Hofmeester/ Shutterstock)