Despite major advances in contraception that occurred during the 20th century, about 49% of pregnancies in the United States are unintended. More than half of these pregnancies end in abortion.1
In 2000, 54% of women who obtained abortions had used a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant; the most common methods were male condoms (28%) and oral contraceptives (OCs) (14%). Most of the unintended pregnancies resulted from incorrect or inconsistent use of contraceptives.2Among the remaining 46% of women who had an abortion in 2000, the reasons they gave for not using birth control included concerns about contraceptive methods (32%) and unexpected intercourse (27%).2
Advances in contraceptive technology have resulted in improved compliance and fewer side effects. Here we describe recent developments in hormonal and nonhormonal methods. The Table provides a comparative summary of existing methods.
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