The birth control method most female docs use themselves

Feb 25, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. ET
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What comes to mind when you think of birth control? Condoms, birth control pills and patches are probably high on the list, but those common methods of preventing pregnancy aren't what most doctors want you to use.

At least that's what a new study published in the journal Contraception shows.

In the study, researchers surveyed female health care providers including physicians and advanced practice clinicians between ages 25 and 44 and then compared the results to female patients aged 25 and 44.

The results? Of the 488 eligible responses, 331 (nearly 68 percent) were using some method of contraception. Of that 68 percent, 42 percent were more likely to use long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) methods like an intrauterine contraception device (IUD) or the vaginal ring. They were significantly less likely to use sterilization and condoms to prevent pregnancy.

"The difference in contraceptive choices between providers and the general population is even higher than we expected," lead researcher Dr. Ashlesha Patel said in the study.

The reason why the IUD is so popular? It's virtually fool-proof with less than a one percent failure rate. Compare that will the effectiveness of condoms in preventing pregnancy (98 percent) and birth control pills (99 percent) and it's easy to see why female doctors opt for the IUD for their birth control of choice.

As for how the IUD affects long-term fertility? It doesn't, according to Dr. Jennifer Landa.

"Unless a woman has a pelvic infection which can block the fallopian tubes or if she has uterine lining thinning as mentioned above, then the IUD does not affect future fertility," Dr. Landa told SheKnows.

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