Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 21, Issue 9, pp 1753–1762 | Cite as

Motivations for Interest, Disinterest and Uncertainty in Intrauterine Device Use Among Young Women



Objective To elucidate salient contraceptive preferences and priorities as they relate to young women’s interest or lack thereof in intrauterine device (IUD) use. Methods Qualitative data were drawn from a 2012 survey on contraceptive preferences and IUD interest. Among 413 young (ages 18–29) women, open-ended responses describing reasons for interest, disinterest or uncertainty in future IUD use were examined using a thematic analysis approach. Results Most participants were unsure about (49.2%) or not interested in (30.0%) future IUD use. Themes regarding IUD interest related to specific facets of IUD use (e.g., risks and side effects, ease of use), as well as broader influences on contraceptive decision-making (e.g., social influences, alignment with pregnancy intentions). For interested participants, a sense of empowerment pervaded the responses, with many references to the ease of use and lack of requisite maintenance. Uninterested participants were concerned about the internal nature of the IUD, with many describing “horror stories” and fears that the IUD would cause injury or infertility. Unsure participants provided more detailed and complex responses, carefully weighing the advantages and disadvantages of IUD use. Uncertainty was often driven by an acknowledged need for specific information, rather than overall lack of knowledge. Conclusions for Practice In this analysis, many women had a clear sense of their contraceptive preferences, which frequently did not align with IUDs. While continuing to remove barriers to IUD access is critical, patient-centered counseling approaches offer the opportunity to support women in best matching with a method that aligns with their preferences.


Intrauterine device (IUD) Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) Contraceptive decision-making Young women 



This work was supported by pilot funding from the Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality at San Francisco State University. The authors thank Kelly Bermudes, Jennifer Clark, Cameron Hartofelis, and Sara Finlayson for their work supporting survey design, implementation and analysis, and the Sexual Health and Reproductive Equity writing group for providing feedback on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sexual Health and Reproductive Equity (SHARE) Program, School of Social WelfareUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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