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Most Effective After-Sex Contraception: IUDs
The mostِ effective wayِ toِ prevent pregnancy afterِ unprotected sex isِ with anِ intrauterine device (IUD), a newِ study finds.
Researchers reviewed 42 previous studies involving a total ofِ 7,034 women whoِ hadِ anِ IUD inserted afterِ unprotected sex, andِ found thatِ 0.9 percent ofِ the women subsequently becameِ pregnant.
The study didِ not directlyِ compare IUDs withِ emergency contraception pills, butِ other studies ofِ women takingِ the pills haveِ shown thatِ 1.4 toِ 3 percent becomeِ pregnant, saidِ study researcher Kelly Cleland, a public health researcher atِ Princeton University.
The notion that IUDs can prevent pregnancy after intercourse is not widely known.
I thinkِ thatِ IUDs areِ not atِ allِ on theِ radar ofِ mostِ women, Cleland said.
The idea ofِ using anِ IUD asِ emergency contraception isِ completely newِ to mostِ people.
Unlike theِ pills, IUDs provide long-lasting protection againstِ pregnancy, forِ asِ long asِ 10 years afterِ they areِ inserted intoِ the uterus.
How IUDs work
Cleland andِ her colleagues reviewed 42 studies conducted inِ six countries betweenِ 1979 andِ 2011.
Most ofِ the IUDs inِ the studies wereِ madeِ of copper; IUDs thatِ use hormones, suchِ those sold underِ theِ nameِ Mirena, haveِ not beenِ studied asِ a method ofِ emergency contraception.
The main wayِ IUDs prevent pregnancy isِ byِ preventing fertilization, Cleland said.
Use on the rise
Guidelines fromِ the American College ofِ Obstetricians andِ Gynecologists sayِ that copper IUDs areِ appropriate forِ emergency contraception inِ women whoِ meet standard criteria forِ using IUDs.
(The devices areِ not recommended forِ women withِ chlamydia, gonorrhea, pelvic inflammatory disease orِ certainِ cancers.) Risks ofِ using theِ device include severe menstrual pain andِ heavy bleeding, bleeding betweenِ periods andِ vaginal inflammation, according toِ theِ Mayo Clinic.
In theِ U.S., theِ IUD hasِ a bad reputation, Cleland said.