What is a LARC?
Long Acting Reversible Contraception is a term used to describe certain methods of contraception that
are highly effective in protecting a woman from getting pregnant over an extended period of time. They
are the most effective reversible methods of birth control because they do not depend on a person
remembering to take or use them to be effective. They are reversible, meaning that once one stops
using them, their effects wear off quickly and a woman can become pregnant right away.
LARCs include IUDs ( intrauterine devices), and contraceptive implants, both are considered 99%
effective in preventing pregnancy.
There are two types of IUDs, those with hormones and those without: both are small T-shaped devices
that are inserted into the uterus by a healthcare provider in the provider’s office.
The hormonal IUD (Mirena) releases a small amount of hormone while it is inside the uterus. This type
of IUD is effective for up to 5 years, and often decreases heavy periods for those using it.
The non-hormonal IUD (Paraguard) is made of copper and is also inserted into the uterus. This type of
device is effective for up to 10 years.
Implant: (Nexplanon) is small silicone rod that is placed by your healthcare provider under the skin of
the upper arm that release hormones into the system. This procedure is also done in the provider’s
office. It is effective for 3-5 years.
There are many myths surrounding these type of methods, even though the American College of
Obstetricians Gynecologists recommends these types of contraception for most women above all other
MYTH– IUDs cause abortion: IUDs do not cause abortion, they prevent fertilization by either their
hormones or the copper.
MYTH-IUDs cannot be used by young women, or those who have not ever been pregnant: women of all
ages can use IUDs. There are some brands specifically made for the younger woman who has not had
MYTH– LARCs can only be inserted or started during a menstrual cycle: All of these methods can be
started if there is reasonable certainty a woman is not pregnant.
GCH Clinics have several providers that are trained in insertion of these methods and are available for
questions and concerns regarding these reliable, safe methods of contraception.
Cindy Peterson, ARNP