Intrauterine contraceptive devices or IUDs are a highly effective and safe emergency contraceptive method, according to a recent study.
The term contraception means 'against conception or fertilization'. Data published in the Journal of Human Reproduction shows that about 36 percent of pregnancies across the world are unwanted or unintended while in United States alone half of the pregnancies are unintended.
AdvertisementA research conducted by Kelly Cleland and colleagues of the Princeton University, New Jersey stated that IUDs can be effectively and safely used as routine contraceptive method. The researchers assessed the evidences proving the effectiveness of IUDs for emergency contraception.
Unwanted pregnancy is a serious health concern experienced by couples worldwide. Sufficient protection is offered by emergency contraception methods. The study states, "Emergency contraception offers women an important strategy to prevent pregnancy after intercourse in cases of contraceptive accidents or non-use, or in situations of sexual violence."
Presently, two forms of emergency contraceptive measures are available-the IUDs and 'the morning after pill'. Morning after pills contain 1.5 mg levonorgestrel, sold either in one-pill or two-pill formulations. Mifepristone in small doses is used extensively as an emergency contraception measure in China, Russia, India and Vietnam.
The researchers gathered data from various databases such as Global Health, Clinicaltrials.gov, Medline, Wanfang Data (Chinese), Popline, and Weipu Data (Chinese). Studies published in both Chinese and English were taken into consideration.
The study analyzed 42 studies from six nations that involved about 7,034 females who had some or the other type of IUDs implanted.
The gap between intercourse and insertion of IUD was up to around ten days. In majority of the cases, IUDs were implanted within five days of intercourse. The pregnancy rate with IUDs was 0.09 percent while with morning after pill it was 1 to 3 percent.
After an unprotected and unsafe sexual act, IUDs are quite effective in preventing pregnancy or conception. They are safe, highly effective and low in cost. They should be considered as 'feasible option' for emergency contraception in couples having unprotected intercourse.
The study revealed clear evidences of intrauterine contraceptive methods being highly effective in preventing conception as 99.86 percent IUD users did not conceive after an unprotected sexual intercourse. The researchers further said that the results cannot be specific due to lack of proper information on fertile cycle days and IUD types.
It was concluded that IUDs, wherever appropriate and feasible, should be routinely employed as an effective option for emergency contraception.
The Efficacy of IUDs for Emergency Contraception; Kelly Cleland et al; Hum Reprod. 2012;27(7):1994-2000.