Perceptions of intrauterine contraception among women seeking primary care

Contraception. 2013 Aug;88(2):269-74. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2013.02.004. Epub 2013 Feb 15.


Background: Intrauterine contraception (IUC) is safe, highly effective and has few medical contraindications. Primary care providers see many women with chronic conditions who might benefit from IUC.

Study design: We surveyed women aged 18-50 who visited one of four primary care clinics in Pennsylvania between October 2008 and April 2010 to investigate perceptions of IUC and to identify factors associated with accurate perceptions. Key independent variables included patient characteristics, including knowing other women who had used IUC, and having discussed IUC with a provider. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between independent variables and accurate perceptions.

Results: The study population included 1626 eligible respondents. Only 19.5% of women knew that IUC is more effective than oral contraceptive pills, 57.4% knew that IUC does not increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections and 28.7% knew that IUC is more cost-effective than oral contraceptive pills. Among women who had never used IUC, accurate perceptions were associated with higher levels of education, knowing one or more women who had used IUC and having discussed IUC with a health care provider.

Conclusions: Many women seeking primary care have inaccurate perceptions of IUC and may benefit from counseling about the advantages of this approach to preventing unintended pregnancy.

Keywords: Attitudes; Contraception; Counseling; Intrauterine devices; Primary care; Progesterone releasing.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraception
  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices*
  • Perception*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States


  • Contraceptives, Oral