Differences in contraceptive use between family planning providers and the U.S. population: results of a nationwide survey



      To describe contraceptive use among U.S. female family planning providers and to compare their contraceptive choices to the general population.

      Study design

      We surveyed a convenience sample of female family planning providers ages 25–44 years, including physicians and advanced practice clinicians, via an internet-based survey from April to May 2013. Family planning providers were compared to female respondents ages 25–44 years from the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth.


      A total of 488 responses were eligible for analysis; 331 respondents (67.8%) were using a contraceptive method. Providers' contraceptive use differed markedly from that of the general population, with providers significantly more likely to use intrauterine contraception, an implant, and the vaginal ring. Providers were significantly less likely to use female sterilization and condoms. There were no significant differences between providers and the general population in use of partner vasectomy or the pill. Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) use was significantly higher among providers than in the general population (41.7% vs. 12.1%, p<.001). These results were consistent when stratifying by variables including self-identified race/ethnicity and educational level.


      The contraceptive choices of this sample of female family planning providers differed significantly from the general population. These findings have implications for clinical practice, patient education, and health policy.


      Family planning providers report higher use of LARC than the general population. This may reflect differences in preferences and access. Providers might consider sharing these findings with patients, while maintaining patient choice and autonomy.


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