Long-acting, reversible contraception (LARC)

Of 6.6 million pregnancies per year in the United States,  more than half are unintended.[1] Nationally long-acting, reversible contraception (LARC) usage remains relatively low. Many adolescents and young women report they know little or nothing about LARC.[2]

Unintended pregnancies are associated with an increased risk of poor health outcomes for mothers and babies, including delayed access to prenatal care, preterm birth, and negative physical and mental health effects. LARC is safe and highly effective in preventing unintended pregnancies. LARC requires no user intervention, work over long periods of time, and can be reversed.

Preventing and/or lowering unintended pregnancy can affect the present and future well-being of teens and families, while also contributing to the economic health of our state.






What can providers do?

These five steps are recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

  1. Provide counseling on all contraceptive options including implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  2. Educate and encourage patients to consider LARC options
  3. Advocate for insurance coverage and appropriate payment and reimbursement for every type of contraceptive method
  4. Adopt best practices for LARC insertion
  5. Become familiar with and support local, state (including Medicaid), federal and private programs that improve affordability of all contraceptive methods

Taking a collaborative approach

Lowering unintended pregnancy rates requires a multiple-faceted approach from the community, state and local government, health care providers, school-based clinics, local health clinics, hospitals, universities and colleges. AFMC’s Arkansas Medicaid Quality improvement team works all these groups to increase awareness of LARC in our collaborative effort to reduce unintended pregnancies. Our Medicaid Quality Improvement team provides educational programs to increase the knowledge of LARC and implanting methods among primary care providers and and gynecologists/obstetricians.

All women should have access to safe and effective contraceptive methods. Talk to your patients today.

[1] Guttmacher Institute (2015). Unintended Pregnancy in the United States. Retrieved Feb. 25, 2016, from https://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-Unintended-Pregnancy-US.html

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Preventing teen pregnancy: A key role for health care providers. CDC Vital Signs. Retrieved Feb. 25, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/larc/

[3] Sonfield, A., & Kost, K. (2015). Public Costs from Unintended Pregnancies and the Role of Public Insurance Programs in Paying for Pregnancy-Related Care: National and State Estimates for 2010. New York: Guttmacher Institute.

LARC strategies for success

Improve office systems

Routinely discuss contraception

  • All women of child-bearing age, including teens
  • Always include LARC choices when discussing contraception
  • Recognize LARC as a safe and effective choice in birth control for women of child-bearing age, including teens
  • LARC is recommended as a first choice for teens by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Discuss the pros and cons of all methods of birth control

Health history

Sexual history

  • Detailed sexual history
  • Sexual history questions are an important part of overall health and health history
  • Some sexual history questions are more explicit than others
  • All information provided is confidential.
  • Seek training in LARC insertion and removal

Patient education

  • Provide detailed information on LARC choices to women of child-bearing age, including teens
  • Encourage teens not to have sex
  • Remind patients that LARC by itself does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Always use a condom to help protect from HIV or other STIs

Parent/guardian education

  • Encourage parents/guardians to discuss sex with teens to include:
    • Encouraging teens not to have sex
    • Encouraging effective birth control methods, including LARC
    • Encouraging teens to always use a condom to protect against STIs
  • Encourage parents/guardians to visit a health care provider with the teen to discuss birth control options and how to prevent STIs

LARC web resources

Providers

Center for Disease Control and Prevention
U.S. MEC & U.S. SPR App Flier
Download the U.S. MEC & U.S. SPR app for iPhone/iPad from the iTunes App Store
Download the U.S. MEC & U.S. SPR app for Android from the Google Play Store

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Effectiveness of Family Planning Methods. http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/pdf/contraceptive_methods_508.pdf

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). National Vital Statistics System.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/states/AR_2015.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). United States Medical Eligibility Criteria (US MEC) for Contraceptive Use. http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/UnintendedPregnancy/USMEC.htm

Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Vital Signs (April 2015). Preventing Teen Pregnancy (A key role for health care providers). http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/pdf/2015-04-vitalsigns.pdf

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Reversible Methods of Birth Control. http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/contraception.htm

Bedsider for Providers
http://providers.bedsider.org/

World Health Organization (May 2015). Family planning/Contraception.
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs351/en/

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization. COG-Strengthens-LARC Recommendations /September 22, 2015
http://www.acog.org/About-ACOG/News-Room/News-Releases/2015/ACOG-Strengthens-LARC-Recommendations

Patients

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (July 2014). Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC): IUD and Implant. FAQ 184.
http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Long-Acting-Reversible-Contraception-LARC-IUD-and-Implant

US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Population Affairs (August 2014). Fertility Awareness (Natural Family Planning) The Facts.
http://www.hhs.gov/opa/pdfs/natural-family-planning-fact-sheet.pdf

US Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health (2012). Birth Control Methods.
http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/birth-control-methods.html

Bedsider
https://bedsider.org
https://bedsider.org/reminders