What is a LARC?

LARC stands for Long Acting Reversible Contraception. Let's break this down: when we think about LARCs, we think about Contraception (birth control).

Unlike pills or shots, LARCs are implantable devices that stay in the body. They are Long Acting, lasting from 3-10 years. They do not need to be taken regularly. However, they are completely Reversible- remove the device and fertility returns. They can be removed at any time.

There are TWO types of LARC devices available to women:


Intrauterine Devices (IUDS)

  • IUDs are T-shaped devices made of soft plastic
  • IUDs are inserted into the uterus (the womb)
  • IUDs are over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy
  • IUDs can stay in the body from 3-10 years, depending on the type of IUD
  • There are 2 types of IUDs:
    • Copper IUD: This has no hormones. It can stay in the body up to 10 years. See our FAQ page for more information.
    • Progestin IUD: This IUD releases a very small amount of a hormone called progestin. These IUDs can stay in the body from 3-7 years. See our FAQ page for more information

Subdermal Implant

  • The implant is a flexible, plastic rod approximately the size of a matchstick
  • The implant is inserted under the skin of the arm
  • The implant is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy
  • The implant can stay in the body for up to 3 years
  • See our FAQ page for more information about the implant

In addition to being very reliable at preventing pregnancy, these devices have additional benefits. Most women experience far lighter and less painful menses while these devices are in place.  Many women have no periods whatsoever.  Additionally, for some women, estrogen containing contraceptives can pose risks to their health and none of these devices contain estrogen.  See our FAQ page for more information. Remember if women are at high risk for STDs, IUDs may not be their best choice, and as always, women should be advised to use condoms in addition to the LARC device to prevent STDs.


Did you know?

In our country, there are approximately 3,000,000 unintended pregnancies a year, of which approximately half are terminated, resulting in about 1,200,000 abortions. 

South Texas has a particularly high incidence of unintended pregnancies and childbirth to teenagers and is highest in the nation for repeat teen pregnancies!  

Pregnancies that are unintended are at greater risk for negative consequences such as less prenatal care, low birth weight, prematurity, and post-partum depression. Teen mothers are at risk for incomplete education and diminished opportunities.