Washington University study compares short- and long-term birth control methods

May 24, 2012

A new study out of Washington University suggests that women who use short-term birth-control methods like the pill are 20 times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy than those who use longer-term options like intrauterine devices or implants.

Washington University gynecologist Tessa Madden says even though IUDs and contraceptive implants are clearly more effective, most women in the U.S. still rely on birth control pills and condoms to prevent pregnancy. 

She says one reason for that is price: IUDs and implants can cost up to a thousand dollars.

“So if women don’t have insurance, or they don’t have contraceptive coverage through their insurance, that cost may be insurmountable,” Madden said.

But Madden says because IUDs and implants last for years, they actually end up costing less over the long term. And she says they can always be removed early if a woman decides she wants to get pregnant.