Dr. Paula Bednarek, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, says women who receive an IUD immediately following a first trimester abortion experience few complications and are less likely to have an unintended pregnancy than those who delay getting an IUD by several weeks.
However, federal policy prohibits physicians from providing contraceptive services at the time of an abortion, the investigators report.
"Immediate use of any contraceptive method after abortion has been linked to a reduced risk of repeat abortion with the immediate use of an IUD being the most effective method for reducing this risk," Bednarek says in a statement.
"Federal policy makes access a challenge, particularly for low-income patients."
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, says a primary concern with inserting an IUD immediately after an abortion is the risk of expulsion. The researchers found, however, the rate of expulsion after immediate insertion was higher but statistically not inferior to that of delayed insertion.
"Our results show that women who would like to receive an IUD after an abortion, but are asked to make an appointment for a later date, may not return to actually receive the IUD, and, therefore are at higher risk to have another unintended pregnancy," Bednarek says.