Study finds long-term contraception is most effective -

Long-term contraception is most effective

Nearly all American women have used some form of birth control at some point, but about half of U.S. pregnancies are still unplanned. A recent study reveals that the most effective method may be a surprise.

The pill is the most popular choice for American women on birth control, but a new study found that IUD's and implants have a much lower failure rate – up to 20 times lower.  

IUD's are used long term and don't need to be remembered daily or monthly. That's why there are less unplanned pregnancies when these forms of birth control are used.

Dr. Bradley, an OBGYN at The Cleveland Clinic, says, "The pregnancy rates for the first year with the methods that you had to remember to take were four percent and it rose almost to 10 percent by year three, whereas if you had a long-term reversible method, very, very low rates; 0.1 or 0.2 percent."

IUD's can provide up to 10 years of 99-percent effective birth control. Recent research shows that they're a safe option for women of all ages, with or without children. Dr. Bradley says unplanned pregnancies are especially common in young women.

"It's effective, it's safe, and you can use it when you're young," says Dr. Bradley, "They had girls as young as 14 using this, so I think if we want to change society and we want to look at long-term health care for women, especially when we found that so many of the pregnancies, it was higher if you were under the age of 21 then if you were over 30; even using pills."

It's important to discuss all options with your doctor to see what's right for you. Complete findings for the Washington study are in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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