OHSU

Immediate use of an IUD following abortion more likely to prevent unintended pregnancies Share This OHSU Content

06/09/11  Portland, Ore.

Paula Bednarek, MD, principal investigator and an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology discusses findings published in New England Journal of Medicine

Study finds women who are asked to make an appointment for a later date may not return, are at higher risk for another unintended pregnancy.

Women who receive a contraceptive known as an intrauterine device or IUD immediately following a first trimester abortion experience few complications and are less likely to have an unintended pregnancy than those who delay getting an IUD by several weeks, according to a new study at Oregon Health & Science University.

Research has shown that IUDs are safe, highly effective, long-term reversible contraceptives that don’t require active use once they’ve been inserted. IUDs are underused, however, in part because federal policy prohibits physicians from providing contraceptive services at the time of an abortion, the investigators report.

“Immediate use of any contraceptive method after abortion has been linked to a reduced risk of repeat abortion with the immediate use of an IUD being the most effective method for reducing this risk. However, federal policy makes access a challenge, particularly for low-income patients,” said Paula Bednarek, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology.