What Internal Medicine Physicians Need to Know About Contraception

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Undesired pregnancy has potential negative effects on physical, mental, social, and financial well-being. Yet, internal medicine physicians too often do not consider contraception as a component of routine preventive health care. Contraception gets little, if any, emphasis during internal medicine residency training, and most internal medicine physicians have never prescribed long-acting contraception or inserted an intrauterine device. Many defer discussion of pregnancy intent and contraception to colleagues in obstetrics and gynecology. Internal medicine physicians need to be willing and able to provide contraceptive services because we often care for patients with underlying conditions and those receiving therapies that further complicate unplanned pregnancy. With politics in some states targeting women's reproductive health, options for terminating undesired pregnancies and access to women's reproductive health care are becoming limited in many U.S. locales. Thus, it is essential that physicians outside of obstetrics and gynecology provide contraceptive services. On September 13, 2023, Annals of Internal Medicine and the American College of Physicians (ACP) assembled a panel of experts to discuss contraception.


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