Better birth control counseling and education reduces unintended pregnancies

Better counseling about women’s birth control options can dramatically reduce unintended pregnancies, according to new research from the University of California, San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global and Reproductive Health. The study, published today in The Lancet, shows that health care providers can play a critical role in supporting women’s contraceptive decision-making and preventing unintended pregnancies.

Bixby Center researchers conducted a randomized trial with Planned Parenthood Federation of America at 40 health centers nationwide to evaluate an accredited training curriculum for health care providers. Through a half-day session for all clinic staff, the curriculum provided the most up-to-date information on intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, which are far more effective than the pill or condoms at preventing pregnancy.

The training resulted in a striking reduction in the number of unintended pregnancies among family planning clients by almost half. It also dramatically increased providers’ counseling and women’s awareness of IUDs and implants. However, women receiving contraception post-abortion did not benefit from the intervention, as less than half who chose IUDs and implants at the time of an abortion actually obtained them. Researchers noted that there are many cost barriers to contraceptives at the time of abortion in the U.S.

The study was conducted by the UCSF Bixby Center's Beyond the Pill Program in partnership with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

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ANSIRH announces new director

Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), a program at the UCSF Bixby Center, recently announced that Dr. Dan Grossman will become its new director on September 1, 2015. “Dr. Grossman brings to ANSIRH a perfect combination of rigorous research, high-impact policy work, global health expertise and a powerful media presence,” said Dr. Rebecca Jackson, chief of Bixby’s division in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences. Dr. Diana Greene Foster, ANSIRH interim director, added, “We are overjoyed to have him lead our organization.”

Dr. Grossman is currently vice president for research at Ibis Reproductive Health. He is a respected researcher with an extensive research portfolio and over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles. In recent years, Dr. Grossman has emerged as a leading spokesperson on cutting-edge topics such as over-the-counter oral contraceptives, restrictions on access to abortion care and telemedicine. Dr. Grossman is an abortion provider and will continue his clinical practice at UCSF.

“I feel very honored to have been chosen to lead such a distinguished group of researchers, and I look forward to helping ensure that ANSIRH’s work has the greatest possible impact on practice and policy,” Dr. Grossman said.


Bixby launches new contraceptive reimbursement guide

The UCSF Bixby Center has released a new guide to help health providers offer women the full range of contraceptive options. The guide, Intrauterine Devices and Implants: A Guide to Reimbursement, provides information to navigate patient coverage, stocking and reimbursement of these highly effective contraceptive methods. The guide is a joint project of the Bixby Center and the:

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association
  • National Health Law Program
  • National Women’s Law Center

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants are safe and highly effective forms of contraception, but their high cost often creates obstacles for providers to offer these methods to women. This new guide aims to decrease the cost barriers for providers and patients alike.


New agreement will save mothers’ lives worldwide

The UCSF Bixby Center and partners have reached new agreement to reduce the cost of a tool that helps save women’s lives during childbirth. The agreement reduces the cost per use of the non-pneumatic anti-shock garment known as Lifewrap™, which has been shown to safely and effectively reduce deaths due to postpartum hemorrhage. Under the agreement, the cost per use of Lifewrap™ will be reduced from $1.30 to below $0.30 for public sector purchasers in 51 countries.

The agreement represents a partnership between the Bixby Center’s Safe Motherhood Program and the

  • UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children
  • Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc.
  • Blue Fuzion Group, which supplies the product

Postpartum hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide. The Lifewrap™ can be applied by anyone after a short, simple training and has been used to help over 9,000 women in 20 countries to date.


Abortion does not cause risky alcohol use

Some previous research has found higher levels of alcohol use among women who have received abortions, and these findings are often used to discourage women from accessing abortion care. However, new research from the UCSF Bixby Center challenges the notion that abortion is related to increased alcohol use. Using data from the Turnaway Study, researchers found that women who had a child from an unwanted pregnancy reduced alcohol consumption over a two-year period, while women who had abortions resumed their typical pre-pregnancy alcohol consumption. This new study shows that the difference in alcohol consumption for these two groups is due primarily to reductions among women continuing pregnancies rather than increases among women having abortions.

There was no evidence that having an abortion lead to risky or problematic drinking over time, or that it caused women to start binge drinking. These new findings join others showing that abortion care is medically safe and does not have negative consequences for women.