Overall, Los Angeles women at risk for an unintended pregnancy use a contraceptive; according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 79.4% of women in the county reported that they used contraception the last time they had intercourse. Interestingly, a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that very few women choose to get an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted soon after delivering a baby, even though it is one of the most effective methods of long-term contraception. Instead, many opt for tubal ligation. Some of these women are young and may later regret having the surgery. CDC researchers analyzed data from a nationwide database on inpatient stays at approximately 1,000 different hospitals. They collected data for all women who were admitted for delivery; then checked how many of the new mothers were given an IUD or had tubal sterilization surgery as part of the same hospital stay. Between 2001 and 2008, women had an IUD inserted shortly after giving birth in one in every 37,000 deliveries; however, tubal sterilizations were done after one in every 13 deliveries. Lead author Dr. Maura Whiteman noted, “Sterilization is an excellent option for appropriate candidates who are confident in their choice for permanent contraception.” Several studies have reported that inserting an IUD immediately after delivery, or after an abortion, is reasonable; however, the CDC researchers said that the new data suggests that the surgeries may be done too often in comparison to IUD insertion, especially in some groups of women. For example, about 15% of all women who had tubal sterilization were younger than 25. Many of these women later regret their decision. For example, they may enter a new relationship after a divorce or loss of a spouse and desire another child. A tubal ligation can be surgically (and expensively) reversed; however, pregnancy may not be achieved or the woman can suffer a tubal pregnancy.
The researchers noted that many women are unaware that IUDs are an option. The down-side of an IUD is that some women experience cramping and bleeding problems. If a woman is in a monogamous relationship, infection is not a risk. However, if the woman and/or her partner are in multiple partners, the infection risk is significant. The IUD itself does not cause an infection; however, women exposed to a sexually transmitted disease who have an IUD can suffer a more severe infection than a woman without an IUD.
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