As a health care provider, you can help your patients make informed choices by consistently discussing all contraceptive options, including LARC options. By asking the right questions, you can support your patients in choosing a contraception that best fits their needs.4,5
An essential aspect of contraceptive counseling that helps your patients decide which method to choose is prioritizing their values, preferences, and lived experiences.4
In the shared decision-making model, both you as the health care provider and your patient are recognized as having valued expertise.4
Here are a few ways you can initiate this conversation with your patients:
Ask open-ended questions about your patient’s priorities and values related to their pregnancy goals and desired contraceptive features4
Share details about the medical contraindications, risks, and benefits for each method4
Reflect knowledge back to your patient about their desired attributes and how individual contraceptive methods may or may not satisfy those priorities4
Allow your patient to consider all their contraceptive options and determine which of these best meets their needs before they choose a contraceptive method4
Below are some resources you can use to help facilitate the contraceptive conversation
This easy-to-navigate resource includes information on utilizing a combination of both telehealth and in-person visits for contraceptive care.
How can you incorporate a hybrid model for contraceptive care into your practice? An ob/gyn shares his approach and experience.
This quick start guide provides sample questions that can be used for engaging patients in joint contraceptive decisions.
This 10-question resource can be used to help facilitate contraceptive counseling conversations with your patients.
Now more than ever, discussing contraceptive options with your patients is an important topic. Many leading medical societies have outlined recommendations on best practices for counseling. Take a look below to learn more.
In February 2022, ACOG issued a committee statement regarding patient-centered contraceptive counseling.4
ACOG recommends that ob/gyns intentionally incorporate the reproductive justice framework into contraceptive counseling4:
Ob/gyns should adhere to the recommended ethical approach of shared decision-making through patient-centered contraceptive counseling.4
In their position paper on preconception care, the AAFP states, “Preconception care is primary care, and it should be a priority for primary care providers in all settings.” The AAFP considers preconception care as “individualized care for men and women that is focused on reducing patient and fetal morbidity and mortality, increasing the chances of conception when pregnancy is desired, and providing contraceptive counseling to help prevent unintended pregnancies.”6
The AAFP recommends that family physicians and primary care providers become leaders in preconception care as they are “ideally suited” for this task, having “an outstanding opportunity to address health issues (eg, preconception risk reduction and chronic disease management) with patients in multiple settings.”6
Selected AAFP Preconception Care Recommendation6:
Family physicians and primary care providers should6:
The AAP considers contraception a “pillar in reducing adolescent pregnancy rates” and recommends that pediatricians adopt practices that will help reduce postmenarchal adolescent unintended pregnancy.7
The AAP recommends7:
LARC = long-acting reversible contraception; Ob/gyns = obstetricians and gynecologists; IUD = intrauterine device
References: 1. Quick Stats: Percentage of women who have ever used emergency contraception among women aged 22–49 years who have ever had sexual intercourse, by education—National Survey of Family Growth, United States, 2017–2019. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021;70. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7004a7 2. Faustmann T, Crocker J, Moeller C, Engler Y, Caetano C, Buhling KJ. How do women and health care professionals view hormonal long-acting reversible contraception? Results from an international survey. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2019;24(6):422–429. 3. Lindberg LD, VandeVusse A, Mueller J, Kirstein M. Early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic: findings from the 2020 Guttmacher survey of reproductive health experiences. Accessed September 26, 2023. https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/early-impacts-covid-19-pandemic-findings-2020-guttmacher-survey-reproductive-health.pdf 4. Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women and Committee on Ethics. ACOG Committee Statement Number 1: Patient-centered contraceptive counseling. Obstet Gynecol. 2022;139(2):350-353. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000004659 5. Gavin L, Moskosky S, Carter M, et al; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Providing quality family planning services: recommendations of CDC and the U.S. Office of Population Affairs. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2014 Apr 25;63(4):1-54. 6. American Academy of Family Physicians. Preconception Care (Position Paper). 2015. Accessed September 26, 2023. https://www.aafp.org/about/policies/all/preconception-care.html 7. Ott MA, Sucato GS. American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Adolescence. Contraception for adolescents. Policy statement. Pediatrics. 2014;134(4):e1244–e1256.