- A new study found that insertions of IUDs and implants increased by about 22% after President Trump’s election in November 2016.
- The study looked at more than 3 million women enrolled in commercial insurance and compared insertion rates in November 2015 and November 2016.
- Both methods provide highly effective, reversible birth control for three to 10 years, depending on which type you choose.
In the days after President Donald Trump’s election in November 2016, some women on social media started encouraging others to get intrauterine devices, or IUDs.
The concern seemed to stem from fears that affordable birth control access would be threatened if, once in office, President Trump followed through on a campaign promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The IUD, a no-maintenance method that lasts three to 10 years depending on brand, offered the chance to get long-lasting, effective contraception.
“Get your IUD,” Twitter user @grimalkinrn wrote in a tweet on November 9, 2016. “Get your birth control that will outlast Trump.”
Get your IUD. If you have light periods, opt for a Paragard, which can last 10-12 years. Get your birth control that will outlast Trump.
— Future Crone (@grimalkinrn) November 9, 2016
Now, new research suggests that people really did flock to doctor’s offices for IUD insertions in the wake of the election, TIME reported.
The research letter, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, studied more than 3 million women ages 18 to 45 who were enrolled in commercial insurance plans. It looked at the number of insertions of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), a category that includes IUDs and the arm implant, in the 30 days before and after November 8, 2016, and November 8, 2015.
They found that, compared to the year before, LARC insertions increased by nearly 22% in the month after the election.
If that increase was projected to apply to the 33 million 18-to 45-year-old US women with employer health insurance, it would “correspond to approximately 700 additional insertions per day in association with the 2016 election,” the authors wrote.
The New York Times noted that, because the study didn’t evaluate patients’ motivation to get IUDs or implants, it’s not possible to know for sure if they were spurred by the election.
The research has some other limitations, too, the authors wrote. They covered only a short period, so they can’t determine if the higher rate of LARC insertions lasted beyond that 30-day post-election stretch. They also studied only women with commercial insurance, meaning the results may not be the same for women with no insurance or public health insurance.
The authors concluded that the findings “could reflect a response to fears of losing contraceptive coverage because of President Trump’s opposition to the ACA or an association of the 2016 election with reproductive intentions or LARC awareness.”
TIME reporter Jamie Ducharme also noted that some other sources suggest IUD insertions surged following the election. In January 2017, for example, Planned Parenthood’s then-president Cecile Richards said in an interview that demand for IUD insertions was up 900%. A 2017 analysis from AthenaHealth also found that IUD-related doctor’s visits rose 19% between October and December 2016, though a follow-up analysis from the same company published in June 2017 found that LARC demand had returned to pre-election levels.
It seems some doctors observed this trend, too.
“My slots would be booked with women wanting to get IUDs,” Dr. Aparna Sridhar, an associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, told the New York Times on Monday. “They would specifically state that they are getting an IUD because of the political changes they are witnessing.”
IUDs and implants are both more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. The implant, a matchstick-sized rod that a doctor inserts into the arm, lasts for three years. IUDs are also inserted by a doctor, and there are five options to choose from. ParaGard, the copper IUD, lasts 10 years, while the four hormonal IUDs (Skyla, Liletta, Kyleena, and Mirena) last three to five years.
- Read more:
- Here’s what’s considered normal after an IUD insertion – and what’s not
- Birth control can make your period so much better – here’s how 5 common types affect most women
- Trump’s effort to roll out a restrictive birth control policy has been blocked in all 50 states
- More women are choosing sterilization for birth control rather than the pill or IUDs
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