Long-Acting Contraceptives Gaining Acceptance Among U.S. Women

More than two-thirds of women of childbearing age in the United States use contraceptives, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Almost all American women turn to contraception at some point in their lives. But at any given time, many may not be using it for various reasons: because they are pregnant or trying to be, for example, or are not sexually active.

In interviews, part of a national survey conducted from 2015 to 2017, women were asked about their use of contraceptives in the current month.

There are 72.2 million women aged 15 to 49 in the United States. Over all, 64.9 percent use some form of contraception, the researchers estimated.

The most common form was female sterilization, reported by 18.6 percent of the women. Almost 6 percent relied on male sterilization, 12.6 percent took oral contraceptives and 8.7 percent used male condoms.

More than 10 percent used long-acting reversible contraceptives, or L.A.R.C.’s — hormone-releasing rods inserted under the skin, or intrauterine devices that prevent implantation of the fertilized egg.

The use of L.A.R.C.’s has increased rapidly in recent years, according to the lead author of the report, Kimberly Daniels, a statistician with the C.D.C. From 2011 to 2015, 8 percent of women were using them, compared with 11.3 percent in the 2015 to 2017 period.

Among women aged 15 to 19, 37.2 percent were using contraceptives. The rate increased with age: 61.9 percent of women in their twenties, 72 percent of those in their thirties and 73.7 percent in their forties.

The use of oral contraceptives generally decreased with age: 16.6 percent of 15- to 19-year-olds said they used the pill, and 19.5 percent of women in their twenties; but just 11 percent of those in their thirties and 5.1 percent in their forties.

“It’s interesting to see that among these 72 million women, almost half their contraceptive use is covered by L.A.R.C.’s, female sterilization, the pill and the condom,” Dr. Daniels said.

Almost 4 percent of women depended on withdrawal before ejaculation, and small percentages used other forms of contraception — morning-after pills, female condoms, foam, cervical caps, diaphragms, sponges, suppositories, jellies or periodic abstinence.

There were no differences in contraceptive use by level of education, but there were by race. Some 59.9 percent of black women used contraceptives, compared with 67 percent of whites and 64 percent of Hispanics.

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