If You Don’t Want Any More Kids For Awhile, You Really Should Get An IUD

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You don’t have to tell us that IUDs are becoming increasingly popular with women who have kids.  While the surge in popularity has yet to really take off with national numbers, Mommyish readers are quite fond of the device — no matter the risks. But all you champions of the IUD have a new fun fact that you can bust out to your friends still forgetting to take that pill. New research determines that the IUD is 20 times more effective than birth control pills, the vaginal ring, or the patch.

The survey of over 7,500 women aged 14-45 allowed ladies to choose any method they liked from the contraception rainbow: IUD, implant, birth control pills, patch, ring and contraceptive injection. Participants were counseled about each form of birth control and told that they could switch at any time. After keeping tabs on the women for three years, researchers determined the following:

…334 women became pregnant. Of these, 156 pregnancies were due to contraceptive failure. Overall, 133 (4.55 percent) of women using pills, the patch or ring had contraceptive failure, compared with 21 (0.27 percent) of women using IUDs and implants.

Because 50% of all pregnancies in the United States are reportedly unplanned (about 3 million births total) this finding by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis should have women who are finished with birthing running — not walking — to their OGBGYN. Although birth control pills are the most popular reversible contraception in the country, getting access to refills and remembering to take the dosage diligently still compromises the effectiveness. Dr. Brooke Winner, a fourth-year resident at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the study’s lead author, says that although IUDs keep women child-free, only a small number of them are using them at present:

“We know that IUDs and implants have very low failure rates —less than 1 percent. But although IUDs are very effective and have been proven safe in women and adolescents, they only are chosen by 5.5 percent of women in the United States who use contraception.”

Other points of interest about the IUD were that the women who chose them tended to be older, have public health insurance, and have more children than those women who opted for birth control pills. But if keeping children off your agenda for the next few years or longer is your objective — and your health allows for it — you definitely have one choice above all the rest.