Thanks to birth control advances, America has seen the steepest decline in unintended pregnancies in decades. The birth control method at the top of the list is a blast from the past.
Since 2007, researchers have seen a sharp rise in long-acting reversible contraceptives, also called LARCs. Your grandmother may have called the kind she used an IUD. The inserted or implanted forms of birth control have been found to be 99 percent effective and receive much of the credit for the dip in the pregnancy rate.
Check out our story: What Is A LARC?
The fact that usage of these contraceptives has nearly tripled since 2007 is a huge part of the story. Birth control pills and patches, which have to be taken regularly, are susceptible to human error. LARCs are different.
Dr. Alyssa Dweck, an OB/GYN at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai tells us she is well aware of the trend.
The reason why the use of LARCs began, and continues, to rise remains a bit of a mystery, but some doctors credit a sort of makeover of the old contraceptive. As Dr. Dweck pointed out, new types of IUDs, like Skyla (3 years) and Mirena (5 years), last longer and unlike their ancestors reduce the intensity of periods, are easy to remove and completely reversible.
A study found in the healthcare journal Health Affairs shows that, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the cost of IUDs has dropped from a range of $500 to $900 to now $248 per patient. As Dr. Dweck noted, she is talking to more and more young women, and their mothers, about the benefits and safety of the newer versions of IUDs. Health experts say that with information spreading word-of-mouth, the lower price tag and the high success rate, they expect the use of LARCs to continue to grow.