Who, What, When, Where, How?
People often ask our outreach staff at events and education, “Where is A Step Ahead located?”
Caina Lynch, Community Outreach Manager, often replies, “I like to think we are in the air everywhere across middle Tennessee. We partner with local clinics, social workers, schools, community centers, nonprofits, and many other organizations to promote awareness and education and provide access to free, long-acting reversible contraception.”
A Step Ahead of Middle Tennessee is a local 501c3 nonprofit seeking to empower women of all ages to plan their families, education, careers, and future on their own terms. We know that not every woman has access to the resources necessary for effective family planning, and we want to change that. Preventing unplanned pregnancy leads to an increased ability for individuals to plan their pregnancies, better educational and economic outcomes, more stable families, and an increase in health and happiness for women and their children.
We chose to provide access to long-acting, reversible contraception (LARC) because these methods are the most effective methods of contraception available, but they are also the most expensive methods available. This is a barrier that A Step Ahead saw very early on which is why we chose to break down the cost barrier if someone wants a LARC but cannot afford it. We realize there are other barriers that prevent many women from choosing LARC, such as lack of insurance, knowledge of the methods, or even transportation to the clinic. We will break down those barriers to allow our clients access to this worry-free and effective birth control.
LARC is recommended for adolescents and women of any age no matter how many times they have given birth. Women considering using LARCs should obtain contraceptive counseling from reproductive health professionals because those who do are more satisfied with them and use them for longer periods of time. In fact, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends LARC methods should be offered as first-line contraceptive methods and encouraged as options for most women.
What exactly is a LARC though? LARCs are methods of birth control that provide effective contraception for an extended period without requiring user action. LARCs are the most effective reversible methods of contraception because they do not depend on patient compliance. Less than 1% of women become pregnant.
Let’s break down LARC. Long-Acting refers to how long the method will be effective without being replaced by a physician. This allows a woman to have secure and effective birth control in place for a few years without the worry or stress of an unplanned pregnancy. These methods are also Reversible which means that when the device is removed the recipient will regain fertility very quickly, usually within a month. It’s important to note that LARCs should always be removed by a physician. These Contraception methods have effectiveness rates of over 99%, so the recipient can rest assured they have the utmost protection when choosing one of these methods. It is important to point out that the only form of 100% effective birth control is abstinence. And LARC methods do not protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections and Diseases, so we always encourage condom use along with a LARC to prevent STIs.
To qualify for these resources, we simply require our clients to reside or go to school in one of the these 18 middle Tennessee counties: Bedford, Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, DeKalb, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Marshall, Maury, Montgomery, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson.
Join us over the next few weeks on Wednesdays as we break down the individual types of LARC methods, the hormonal subdermal implant, hormonal intrauterine devices, and non hormonal intrauterine devices.