Contraception is more effective than ever before, study finds

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Sarah Biddlecombe
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Good news: research appears to show that the most commonly used birth control methods are now more effective than ever before.

The new study, undertaken by scientists at the Guttmacher Institute, found that failure rates of birth control had fallen since 2002.

Researchers analysed 15,728 contraceptive-use intervals from 6,683 women between 2006 – 2010 and compared failure rates with those from the time period between 1995 – 2002.

They found a significant drop in overall failure rates, from 14.9% in 1995 to just 10.3% between 2006 – 2010.

And the pill and IUDs alone had significant drops, from 8% in 1995 to 6% in 2006 – 2010.

Speaking to National Public Radio (NPR), Kathryn Kost, one of the researchers involved in the study, said the reasons for the increased effectiveness were unclear: but that better use of contraception in general and "major public health efforts" to increase education about birth control and the options available could be key.

"We're seeing declines in abortion rates; we're seeing declines in birth rates,” she added.

“So we know that American women are not getting pregnant unintentionally at the same levels that we had been observing."


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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Commissioning Editor at Stylist. Follow her on Twitter