The month or so right after childbirth is a really difficult time. It can feel impossible to do simple things like showering or putting on shoes or leaving the house at all, and taking care of appointments like “go get an IUD” is a feat of fortitude that would probably have been well beyond my abilities at six weeks postpartum. It’s easy to forget or just change one’s mind, which is why it is excellent news that a new study recommends that new mothers who want IUDs should be given them right after delivery, with no annoying waiting period.
According to the New York Times, women who want IUDs after delivering babies are generally told to come back in six weeks, even though half of new mothers are already sexually active again by that point. But the new study, which was published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, looked at a group of women that gave birth at one university hospital in North Carolina and found that that 83 percent of women who got their IUDs right after C-sections were still using them six months after. Only 64 percent of the women who were told to come back for IUDs were still using them at that point, and some had just never bothered to show up for the appointment. (I feel chagrined because I am pretty sure I would have been in that group.)
”We are meeting a woman’s needs better when they get their contraception at the time of delivery,” said Dr. Lisa M. Goldthwaite of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. ”You can’t continue to use an IUD you never got.”
The study authors say that making IUDs available to women immediately after C-section or vaginal delivery could help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies soon after previous deliveries, which carry certain health risks.
”We need to make it easier for women to get access to the kind of contraception they want as new mothers,” said Dr. Erika E. Levi of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who was the lead author on the study.
That’s great news, because easier and cheaper is always better, especially when it comes to birth control.