Graphic showing three types of long acting reversible contraception options.

Why are Long Acting Reversible Contraception options so popular?

The use of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception, or LARCs, has been on the rise in the U.S. for some time — 10% of women using birth control are now using LARCs, IUDs, birth control shots, and implants.

Benefits of Long Acting Reversible Contraception

LARCs have a number of benefits – you can find a few of them right in the name! The contraception options are long-acting and some can last up to 10 years and are reversible. This means that they’ll prevent you from getting pregnant now, but you can always stop using the method if you want to get pregnant later. Additionally, because often there is only one up front cost, LARCs can also be more affordable compared to other birth control methods.

And one of the most notable benefits that’s not in the name? Some LARCs can be 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. There are a number of LARC options to choose from, so there’s a good chance that can find one that’s right for you.

3 Long Acting Reversible Contraception Options to Consider

We’ve selected 3 contraception options that are also long acting and reversible.

Intrauterine device (IUD)

This small T- shaped device is inserted into the uterus. IUDs come in two different forms: the copper IUD (Paragard), which is hormone free and can last for about 10 years, and hormonal IUDs (Mirena, Skyla, Kyleena, Liletta), which release a small amount of hormones and can last 3-5 years.

Birth control shot

This method (Depo-Provera) is given as a simple shot. It’s important to get regular follow-up shots on time — every 12 weeks — for this method to be effective.

Birth control implant

The implant (Nexplanon) is a tiny rod, about the size of a matchstick. It’s Inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It releases hormones and can last for 3 years.

Talk to your healthcare provider

If you’re interested in learning more about LARCs, you should speak with your healthcare provider to find the best option for you. While an implant or IUD needs to be inserted by a clinician in a provider’s office, birth control shots can be easily administered by a nurse or medical assistant.

Because LARCs don’t prevent STDs, if you use one of these methods to prevent pregnancy, you may want to use a barrier method, like a condom, as well.


Read more about birth control
Sources
  • Donna Shoupe. “LARC methods: entering a new age of contraception and reproductive health.” Contraception and Reproductive Medicine. 1(4). February 23 2016. Retrieved March 31 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5675060/#CR36.
  • “Birth Control.” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, May 2019. Retrieved March 31 2020. https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/especially-for-teens/birth-control.
  • “Birth Control Implant.” Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood, Retrieved March 31 2020. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/birth-control-implant-implanon.
  • “Birth Control Shot.” Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood, Retrieved March 31 2020. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/birth-control-shot.
  • “Contraceptive Use.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, March 21 2019. Retrieved March 31 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/contraceptive.htm.
  • “IUD.” Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood, Retrieved March 31 2020. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/iud.
  • “Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC).” Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties. Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties, Inc., Retrieved March 31 2020. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-orange-san-bernardino/patients/larcs.
  • “Use of Highly Effective Contraceptives in the U.S. Continues to Rise, with Likely Implications for Declines in Unintended Pregnancy and Abortion.” Guttmacher Institute. Guttmacher Institute, December 2014. https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2014/12/use-highly-effective-contraceptives-us-continues-rise-likely-implications-declines.

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