An Ethiopian woman after receiving Implanon insertion. © 2009 Mengistu Asnake, Courtesy of Photoshare

LARCs: A Great Choice for Young and Postpartum Women

Teen Source ScreenshotLong-acting reversible contraceptive methods (LARCs) include intrauterine devices (IUDs), contraceptive implants, and contraceptive injectables. Numerous successful public health programs, communicating the effectiveness and desirability of LARCs for young and postpartum women, have produced exciting and innovative SBCC materials and approaches.

The latest Focus Package from the Health COMpass provides a sampling of tools and examples aimed at promoting these methods to an audience not often considered when talking about LARCs – young and postpartum women.

This selection is heavily based on US and UK materials, yet will be useful as reference and inspiration for any country program.

For young women, LARCs are ideal methods of contraception, since they are not only safe, but are highly effective, easy to use, and eliminate the need to remember contraception on a daily basis. Use of LARCs among this age group is growing.

Social and web-based media are highly used modes of communication for this population.Understandably, many of the newest project materials are technology-based. Take for example, the California Health Council’s website, Teensource, which calls LARCs “your safest bet” in contraception.

Pregnant and postpartum women need to know the benefits of timing and spacing their next pregnancy for their own and their baby’s health, and that it is possible to become pregnant before the return of menses. Counseling about LARC use during prenatal visits, as well as offering LARC in the hospital post-delivery makes it easier to avoid unintended pregnancy.

Mali posterFor example, this poster from Mali is designed for hanging in the delivery room of a hospital, encouraging mothers to have an IUD inserted immediately after childbirth.

The Focus Package includes these examples and more; a total of 11 tools and examples of communication efforts have been collected to aid in planning a social and behavior change communication program promoting the benefits of LARCs.

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