Southeastern Idaho Public Health

Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC)

The percent of unintended pregnancies in the United States is about 50% and 39% in Idaho (Guttmacher Institute). In 2010, $89 million of public spending was spent on unplanned pregnancies. (The National Campaign). The rates are significantly high and to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies more women should consider a long-acting reversible contraception method. Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) is a highly-effective form of birth control that is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancies. LARC methods include the intrauterine device, implant, and Depo-Provera shot.

The intrauterine device (IUD) is a small t-shaped device that is inserted in the uterus and can be left there for 3-5 years. It can be taken out at any time. IUD’s come in two different types: hormonal or hormone-free.

The implant is a small rod that is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It lasts for up to 3 years and can be removed at any time. Less than 1 woman in 100 may get pregnant from using the implant or an IUD over the course of a year (Girls Health 2014).

Depo-Provera is a hormonal birth control shot that is given every 3 months. Less than 6 women in 100 may get pregnant from using this method over the course of a year (Girls Health 2014).

There are many benefits that come with using a LARC method. They are highly effective, safe, convenient, long-term, reversible, and discreet. There are no other user requirements for the IUD or implant after it has been inserted to protect the user. The device will be inserted by a medical provider and will be removed by a medical provider when the user wants it removed. Depo-Provera requires being seen by a medical provider every 3 months to receive the shot. LARC methods do not protect against sexually transmitted infections, so it is important to use a condom.

LARC methods do have a more up front cost, but they are the most cost-effective method, since they last longer than any other form of birth control. They can last anywhere from 3-5 years and can be removed at any time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends LARC methods as the first-line contraceptive choice for women and teens that are sexually active.

We offer three types of LARC methods:
  • Paragard(hormone-free)

  • Mirena(hormonal)

  • Depo-Provera

  • Implant (Nexplanon) - available soon

Links & Downloads

  BEDSIDER - The Free Support Network for Birth Control
  The National Campaign - to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
  Idaho Adolescent Pregnancy Program
  CDC - Unintended Pregnancy Prevention
  Reveal 4 Real - Reveal what's real about sex, birth control, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy - Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  CDC - Contraception