Sex Ed

LARC: The Set-It-and-Forget-It Birth Control Method

By Gabi Powell Jillian LoPiano, MD

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We don’t play favorites with our birth control. But when a method is hiiiiighly-effective, gets to work without help and stays working for years, well, we know a good thing when we see it. Betties, let us introduce you to LARCs.


LARC who?

Long-acting reversible contraception, or LARC, is a type of birth control that provides effective, long-term contraception without regular maintenance. This category of BC includes intrauterine devices (IUDs) – both hormonal and copper – and hormonal implants. Once inserted into the body, these methods are designed to be potent pregnancy preventers for an extended period. Plus, unlike your other contraceptives, like birth control pills or vaginal rings, LARCs do not require regular upkeep/application.


How do LARCs work?

IUDs work by preventing fertilization of the egg by the sperm. The device is inserted into the uterus, where it releases either copper or hormones that make it difficult for sperm to reach + fertilize the egg. Hormonal implants work in a similar fashion, but instead of being inserted into the uterus, they are placed under the skin of the arm.


What’s to love about LARCs?

The CDC says more than 10 percent of Betties using birth control rely on LARCs. Soooooo…what’s the hype?


No one does low maintenance quite like LARCs. No daily take-this, no weekly need-to-do that. Once inserted, you’re good to go for several years (we’re talking three to ten years!) without any further action needed.


LARCs set Betties up with peace of mind regarding pregnancy prevention. With a failure rate of less than 1 percent, LARCs are some of the most effective forms of birth control.


If you go from pregnancy preventing to pregnancy planning, LARCs are reversible and can be removed at any time, making them a good option for a Betty who wants to delay pregnancy for several years plus the flexibility and control over their reproductive choices.


Are LARCs right for me?

The right birth control is unique to every Betty. You should always loop your provider into the birth control convo to consider: 





Be open and honest with your provider to ensure that you make an informed decision about your options! They can help weigh the pros + cons of LARC in determining if it is the right fit for you. 


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