Armstrong MA, Raine-Bennett T, Reed SD, Gatz J, Getahun D, Schoendorf J, Postlethwaite D, Fassett MJ, Peipert JF, Saltus CW, Merchant M, Alabaster A, Zhou X, Ichikawa L, Shi JM, Chiu VY, Xie F, Hunter S, Wang J, Ritchey ME, Chillemi G, Im TM, Takhar HS, Pisa F, Asiimwe A, Anthony MS. Association of the timing of postpartum intrauterine device insertion and breastfeeding with risks of intrauterine device expulsion. JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Feb 28;5(2):e2148474. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.48474

IMPORTANCE: Intrauterine device (IUD) expulsion increases the risk of unintended pregnancy; how timing of postpartum IUD insertion and breastfeeding are associated with risk of expulsion is relevant to the benefit-risk profile.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association of postpartum timing of IUD insertion and breastfeeding status with incidence and risk of IUD expulsion.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: The Association of Perforation and Expulsion of Intrauterine Devices (APEX-IUD) cohort study included women aged 50 years or younger with an IUD insertion between 2001 and 2018. The breastfeeding analysis focused on a subcohort of women at 52 or fewer weeks post partum with known breastfeeding status. The study was conducted using data from electronic health records (EHRs) at 4 research sites with access to EHR: 3 Kaiser Permanente sites (Northern California, Southern California, Washington) and the Regenstrief Institute (Indiana). Data analysis was conducted from June to November 2019.

EXPOSURES: Timing of IUD insertion post partum was categorized into discrete time periods: 0 to 3 days, 4 days to 6 or fewer weeks, more than 6 weeks to 14 or fewer weeks, more than 14 weeks to 52 or fewer weeks, and non–post partum (>52 weeks or no evidence of delivery). Breastfeeding status at the time of insertion was determined from clinical records, diagnostic codes, or questionnaires from well-baby visits.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Incidence rates and adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) were estimated using propensity scores to adjust for confounding.

RESULTS: The full cohort included 326 658 women (mean [SD] age, 32.0 [8.3] years; 38 911 [11.9%] Asian or Pacific Islander; 696 [0.2%] Hispanic Black; 56 180 [17.2%] Hispanic other; 42 501 [13.0%] Hispanic White; 28 323 [8.7%] non-Hispanic Black; 137 102 [42.0%] non-Hispanic White), and the subcohort included 94 817 women. Most IUDs were levonorgestrel-releasing (259 234 [79.4%]). There were 8943 expulsions. The 5-year cumulative incidence of IUD expulsion was highest for insertions 0 to 3 days post partum (10.73%; 95% CI, 9.12%-12.61%) and lowest for insertions more than 6 weeks to 14 or fewer weeks post partum (3.18%; 95% CI, 2.95%-3.42%). Adjusted HRs using women with non–post partum IUD insertion as the referent were 5.34 (95% CI, 4.47-6.39) for those with postpartum insertion at 0 to 3 days; 1.22 (95% CI, 1.05-1.41) for those with postpartum insertion at 4 days to 6 or fewer weeks; 1.06 (95% CI, 0.95-1.18) for those with postpartum insertion at more than 6 to 14 or fewer weeks; and 1.43 (95% CI, 1.29-1.60) for those with postpartum insertion at more than 14 to 52 or fewer weeks. In the subcohort, 5-year cumulative incidence was 3.49% (95% CI, 3.25%-3.73%) for breastfeeding women and 4.57% (95% CI, 4.22%-4.95%) for nonbreastfeeding women; the adjusted HR for breastfeeding vs not breastfeeding was 0.71 (95% CI, 0.64-0.78).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this study of real-world data, IUD expulsion was rare but more common with immediate postpartum insertion. Breastfeeding was associated with lower expulsion risk.

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