Ways to increase use of non-hormonal long-acting birth control

The copper intrauterine device (copper IUD) is a highly-effective non-hormonal type of birth control, and is the most commonly used method in the world. However, use of the copper IUD is low in countries with relatively high rates of unintended pregnancy, such as the United Kingdom and United States. Our review looked at studies of different interventions to improve use of the copper IUD.

We did computer searches for relevant studies and looked at the reference lists of study reports to identify more studies. We found nine studies of moderate to low quality. Three studies on contraceptive counselling and referrals by community workers showed an increase in use of the copper IUD. Two studies on antenatal contraceptive counselling and one study on postnatal couple counselling, with provision of an information leaflet before being discharged from the maternity ward, also showed an increase in use of the copper IUD. A study on postnatal home visits and two studies on enhanced postabortion contraceptive counselling did not show an increase in use of the copper IUD. More high-quality research is needed to look at the longer-term effectiveness of interventions to improve use of the copper IUD.

Authors' conclusions: 

Community-based interventions and antenatal contraceptive counselling improved uptake of copper IUD contraception. Since the copper IUD is one of the most effective reversible contraceptive methods, primary care and family planning and practitioners could consider adopting these interventions. Although our review suggests these interventions are clinically effective, a cost-benefit analysis may be required to evaluate applicability.

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Background: 

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are highly effective and are the most widely used reversible contraceptive method in the world. However, in developed countries IUDs are among the least common methods of contraception used. We evaluated the effect of interventions to increase uptake of the copper IUD, a long-acting, reversible contraceptive method.

Objectives: 

To determine effectiveness of interventions to improve uptake and continuation of the copper IUD.

Search strategy: 

We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EMBASE, POPLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed, ClinicalTrials.gov, International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) and OpenSIGLE. We also handsearched references of relevant reviews and included studies.

Selection criteria: 

We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled before and after studies of interventions which measured use and uptake of contraception including copper IUD as an outcome.

Data collection and analysis: 

Two authors independently screened the search results for relevant studies and extracted data from included studies. We used RevMan 5.1 to calculate Peto odd ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for dichotomous outcomes. We conducted meta-analysis by pooling data for similar types of intervention where possible. We used the GRADE system to evaluate the quality of evidence.

Main results: 

Nine studies representing 7960 women met our inclusion criteria, including seven randomised controlled trials and two controlled before and after studies that reported IUD uptake postintervention. We evaluated the quality of evidence as moderate to low. Three studies on contraceptive counselling and referrals by community workers showed an increase in uptake of the IUD among intervention groups (Peto OR 2.00; 95% CI 1.40 to 2.85). Two studies on antenatal contraceptive counselling also favoured the intervention groups (Peto OR 2.33; 95% CI 1.39 to 3.91). One study on postnatal couple contraceptive counselling also showed an increase in IUD uptake compared to control (Peto OR 5.73; 95% CI 3.59 to 9.15). The results of one study evaluating postnatal home visits and two studies on enhanced postabortion contraceptive counselling did not reach statistical significance.

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