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CDC Contraceptive Guidance for Health Care Providers

Unintended pregnancy rates remain high in the United States. About 50% of all pregnancies are unintended, with higher proportions among adolescent and young women, women who are of racial or ethnic minorities, and women with lower levels of education and income.1 Unintended pregnancies increase the risk for poor maternal and infant outcomes2 and in 2002, resulted in $5 billion in direct medical costs in the United States.3

About half of unintended pregnancies are among women who were not using contraception (birth control) at the time they became pregnant. The other half are among women who became pregnant despite reported use of contraception.4 Strategies to prevent unintended pregnancy include removing unnecessary medical barriers to contraceptive use, and helping women and men at risk for unintended pregnancy choose appropriate contraceptive methods and use them correctly and consistently to prevent pregnancy.  

U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010 (US MEC)

In 2010, CDC adapted global guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) to help health care providers counsel women, men, and couples about contraceptive method choice. The U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010 (US MEC), focuses on who can safely use specific methods of contraception, and provides recommendations for the safety of contraceptive methods for women with various medical conditions (such as hypertension and diabetes) and characteristics (such as age, parity, and smoking status).

U.S. Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use, 2013 (US SPR)

The U.S. Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use, 2013 (US SPR) provides guidance on how contraceptive methods can be used and how to remove unnecessary barriers for patients in accessing and successfully using contraceptive methods. The US SPR includes recommendations on when women can start contraceptive methods, what exams and tests are needed before starting a method, what follow-up is appropriate, and how to address side effects and other problems with contraceptive method use.

How to Use the US MEC and US SPR

Health care providers can use these documents when counseling patients about contraceptive choice, how to use contraceptive methods, and how to manage problems with contraceptive use. CDC has developed several provider tools, including summary charts, a US MEC wheel, and mobile tools for easy access to this guidance.

CDC is committed to keeping this clinical guidance up to date and based on the best available scientific evidence. CDC will continue to work with WHO to identify and assess all new relevant evidence and determine whether changes in the recommendations are warranted. Updates to the guidance will be posted on this Web site or can be received by signing up for E-mail Updates.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) endorses the US SPR and encourages its use by fellows. Understanding and Using the U.S. Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use, 2013. Source: Obstet Gynecol. 2013;122:1132–1133.

CDC is committed to keeping this clinical guidance up to date and based on the best available scientific evidence. CDC will continue to work with WHO to identify and assess all new relevant evidence and determine whether changes in the recommendations are warranted. Updates to the guidance will be posted on this Web site or can be received by signing up for E-mail Updates.

  1. Finer LB, Zolna MR. Unintended pregnancy in the United States: incidence and disparities, 2006. Contraception. 2011;84:478–485.
  2. Gipson JD, Koenig MA, Hindin MJ. The effects of unintended pregnancy on infant, child, and parental health: a review of the literature. Stud Fam Plann. 2008;39:18–38.
  3. Trussell J. The cost of unintended pregnancy in the United States. Contraception. 2007;75:168–170.
  4. Finer LB, Henshaw SK. Disparities in rates of unintended pregnancy in the United States, 1994 and 2001. Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2006;38:90–96.

 

Providing Quality Family Planning Services

Quality Family Planning Services (QFP) defines what services should be offered in a family planning visit, which includes services to both prevent and achieve pregnancy, preconception, and STD services. It is designed to help individuals achieve their desired number and spacing of children, and to increase the chances that children will be born healthy.

QFP addresses the needs of both female and male clients. Detailed information is provided about how to provide contraceptive services, with particular attention paid to the special needs of adolescent clients. 

 


CDC Contraceptive Method Guidance: Slide Sets for Health Care Providers

These speaker slides sets can be used or adapted by individuals to give presentations.

  • U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010 (US MEC)
  • U.S. Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use, 2013 (US SPR)
  • Teen Pregnancy Prevention: Application of CDC’s Evidence-Based Contraceptive Method Guidance

 

Social Media Tools: Badges to Share

CDC has created buttons and badges to promote action and awareness for a number of health topics, campaigns, and health observances. You can become an advocate for health by posting one of the buttons or badges featured below to your Web site, blog, or social networking site.

United States Medical Elgibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use logo
Badge size: 150x180 pixels.


 

"United States Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use logo
Badge size: 150x180 pixels.


 

The Quality Family Planning Guidelines (QFP)
Badge size: 150x180 pixels.


 

 

 

 

US MEC Badge
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US SPR Badge
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US MEC Badge
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