[UPDATED JUNE 2016] Long-acting reversible contraceptive methods (LARCs) include intrauterine devices (IUDs), contraceptive implants, and contraceptive injectables. For young women, LARCs are ideal methods of contraception, since they are not only safe but are also highly effective, easy to use, and eliminate the need to remember contraception on a daily basis. The use of LARCs among young women is growing.
In addition, service providers are advised to counsel about LARCs during prenatal visits and to offer LARCs in the hospital post-delivery so as to enable women to make healthy decisions for themselves and for their babies about the spacing and timing of pregnancies. Many women do not realize that they can get pregnant before the return of menses, and combining counseling with the availability of LARCs at these key moments may be decisive in helping women avoid an unintended pregnancy.
This Trending Topic page draws largely on resources developed for programs implemented in the the United States and United Kingdom but will be useful as reference and inspiration for any country program. They include creative and innovative SBCC materials and approaches to communicating the effectiveness and attractiveness of LARCs, particularly to young women and pregnant and postpartum women.
Above photo: The birth of a healthy boy delivered by a midwife at a 12-bed hospital in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. © 2000 Rick Maiman, Courtesy of Photoshare