Increased use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) can reduce unintended pregnancies. However, significant barriers exist to LARC uptake, particularly high up-front costs. In North Carolina in 2014, we interviewed thirty-four purposively selected participants (aged 20-30 years) enrolled in a partially randomized patient preference trial to learn about their experiences with and attitudes toward contraception in this unique trial context. Cost of LARC was important in participants' decision-making. Experiencing an unintended pregnancy motivated women to switch to LARC. No participants who tried LARC, even those who experienced side effects, regretted it. Several participants regretted discontinuing their LARC. Concerns about insertion and removal did not influence future willingness to try LARC. Participants discussed the importance of affordability and feeling in control when choosing a contraceptive method. Cost, combined with uncertainty over whether LARC is the right method for them, may deter young women from trying LARC. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants should be made affordable so that women can try them without significant financial commitment. Affordability will likely increase uptake, which will reduce unintended pregnancies. Regret from discontinuing LARC was more frequently reported than regret from trying LARC. Providers should offer young women LARC and counsel to support continuation.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01299116.
Keywords: Adolescent; attitudes; beliefs; contraception; cost; long-acting reversible contraception; regret; young women.