To assess adolescent awareness of the safety of self-removal of intrauterine contraception (IUC) and explore associations with sociodemographic characteristics, IUC knowledge, and personal experience using an IUC.
We recruited women aged 15-20 years from 21 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. Participants completed an online survey assessing their communication with peers about contraception and knowledge and use of IUCs.
Few (11%, 95% CI 9%-13%) adolescents knew that IUC self-removal is safe, whether or not they had personally used an IUC (14% vs 8%, p=0.01). Knowledge that IUCs do not protect users from sexually transmitted infections (99% vs 91%, p<0.001) and that IUCs can be removed early (99% vs 88%, p<0.001) was higher among adolescents who had used an IUC than those who had not. Knowledge that IUC use does not adversely affect fertility after IUC removal (86% vs 63%, p<0.001) and that IUCs are more effective than birth control pills (82% vs 50%, p<0.001) also differed by personal experience with an IUC. Awareness of the safety of IUC self-removal was not associated with overall knowledge of IUCs. However, adolescents who knew that IUCs are more effective than birth control pills were more likely to be aware of the safety of IUC self-removal (OR=1.85, 95% CI 1.12-3.05).
Adolescent women in the U.S. possess incomplete knowledge of many important aspects of IUC use, and awareness of the safety of IUC self-removal is particularly low, even among those who have used an IUC.
Efforts to increase adolescent knowledge of IUC should include information about the safety of IUC self-removal in order to safeguard adolescents’ reproductive autonomy.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.