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Choosing A Contraceptive Method

Nearly 45% of all pregnancies occurring in the United States are unplanned. Men, women, and couples have a variety of safe and effective contraceptive methods to choose from. Some of these are long-acting reversible methods such as intrauterine devices and implants to reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancies. Below is a comparison of two contraceptive methods, analyzing their indications, contraindications, side effects, affordability, and mechanisms of action.

Intrauterine devices are small objects inserted in a woman’s womb to prevent pregnancy. Intrauterine devices produce copper that kills sperm in the vagina, womb, and fallopian tubes. IUD indications include dysmenorrhea and emergency contraception. Use in intrauterine devices is not contraindicated for women with HIV/AIDS, previous ectopic pregnancies, or multiple sex partners. Using IUDs comes with the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection of the system that can cause ectopic pregnancies and infertility. After insertion, a woman may experience heavier periods, cramps, and spotting between periods.

A birth control implant, on the other hand, is a tiny thin rod inserted in the arm; it produces hormones into the body that prevent pregnancy. As a result of affordable health care, implants are affordable. A common side effect is irregular periods for the first 6-12 months. Implants are indicated as contraceptive devices only. Major contraindications include if a woman is already pregnant, has a history of liver disease, and unexplained vaginal bleeding.


Many factors need to be considered by men, women, and couples when choosing a contraceptive method. Among them are affordability, availability, effectiveness, safety, and acceptability. In choosing contraception, protection against HIV should be considered. As much as contraceptives prevent unplanned pregnancies, they do not protect against STIs, including HIV.


Sivin, I., Stern, J., Coutinho, E., Mattos, C. E., El Mahgoub, S., Diaz, S., … & Diaz, J. (1991). Prolonged intrauterine contraception: a seven-year randomized study of the levonorgestrel 20 mcg/day (LNg 20) and the Copper T380 Ag IUDS. Contraception, 44(5), 473-480.



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