Long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs), such as the hormonal or copper intrauterine device (IUD) and the hormonal arm implant, are regarded as one of the most effective types of contraception. LARC usage has increased since 2002 for women of all ages, but there are still many barriers to LARCs for college-aged women, including lack of insurance coverage and out-of-pocket cost, potential provider bias against socioeconomically disadvantaged women and women of color, word-of-mouth accounts that breed fear-mongering rumors about LARC insertion, and few patient education resources that explain the insertion process and the benefits to LARC usage. The Affordable Care Act’s women’s health policy increased LARC coverage in the 2010s, but there is still an economic disparity between women leading to fewer economically disadvantaged women obtaining LARCs and more becoming pregnant unintentionally. Historically, some healthcare providers have targeted economically disadvantaged women and women of color in sterilization procedures, leading women to fear and distrust their healthcare providers when proposed with new contraceptives. Because many women hear about LARCs through negative stories shared by other women, rather than reliable resources, misinformation, fear, and confusion about LARCs and their insertion process spreads. Providers need to understand the historical significance of medical treatment for socioeconomically disadvantaged women and women of color, as well understand that out-of-pocket costs and transportation to the provider are economic disparities that prevent women from obtaining a LARC, and that there need to be more reliable resources to educate patients and encourage the use of LARCs in young women.
Long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs) are regarded as one of the most effective types of contraception, but they are rarely recommended to the college-aged woman. I used gray and peer-reviewed literature to create a research matrix to examine the reason behind the lack of LARC usage for young women. Women of childbearing age have barriers to obtaining LARCs, including insurance coverage and out-of-pocket cost, some provider bias that historically stigmatizes socioeconomically disadvantaged women and women of color, and few reliable resources that educate patients about the benefits of LARCs. More providers need to offer LARCs to young women as a primary contraceptive, establish a trusting relationship with the patient, and utilize patient education resources that encourage the use of LARCs when preventing unintended pregnancy.