Previous research shows that female physicians are more likely than women in the general population to choose intrauterine contraception as their birth control method. This research aims to describe current contraceptive use among a broader range of female family planning providers and to compare their contraceptive choices with the general population.
We surveyed a convenience sample of family planning providers aged 19–44 years, including physicians and advanced practice clinicians, through a web-based survey from April 2013 to May 2013. A total of 551 responses were eligible for analysis. Results are compared against data among similarly aged women from the National Survey of Family Growth, 2006–2010.
Among the 335 health care providers reporting current contraceptive use, 140 (42%) were using long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), consisting of 134 (40%) intrauterine contraception users and six (2%) implant users. By comparison, only 6.3% of women in the general population report current LARC use (P<.001). Female sterilization was used less frequently among health care providers compared with the general population (4% compared with 34%; P<.001). Health care providers are also significantly more likely than women in the general population to be using the vaginal ring (11% compared with 2%; P<.001) and less likely to be using oral contraceptives (12% compared with 21%; P=.048).
Among female family planning providers, a group with high access and knowledge, contraceptive choices differ significantly from the general population with more health care providers choosing LARC and fewer choosing female sterilization. These findings have important implications for clinical practice, patient education, and health policy.