Women's contraceptive use influenced by contraception education and moral attitudes

Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and unplanned pregnancies are associated with poorer health and lower rates of educational and economic achievement for women and their children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, research shows that the desire to avoid pregnancy does not necessarily increase women's use of contraceptives, although this discrepancy is not well understood. Now, MU researchers have found that levels of prior sex education and moral attitudes toward contraception influence whether women use contraceptives to prevent pregnancy.

"Our study showed that when women had more comprehensive sex education that consisted of information about healthy relationships, abstinence from sexual intercourse and how to properly use contraceptives, they were more likely to seek health care and use compared to women who received abstinence-only ," said Valerie Bader, a clinical instructor in MU's Sinclair School of Nursing. "We also found that when women believe contraception is morally wrong, they were less likely to visit women's health clinics or use contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies."

Bader and her colleagues analyzed data from a national survey of 900 unmarried women ages 18-29 to better understand how contraceptive knowledge and attitudes affect the likelihood that women will visit or use contraceptives to prevent . The findings provide a better understanding of the factors involved in 's decisions about contraceptives and can assist health professionals and educators in developing interventions to improve acceptance and correct use of contraceptives, Bader said.

"In general, individuals need more access to comprehensive contraceptive information so they can make informed decisions; however, this information can be difficult to obtain because the national dialogue about sexuality and contraception is very polarized due to individuals' moral attitudes," Bader said. "Family planning leads to healthier futures for moms and their children to a degree that few other health promotion efforts can match. Having children is a life-changing decision, and the opportunity to plan pregnancies can help people from all backgrounds be happy about pregnancy and prepared to raise children."

Bader's study, "The role of previous contraception education and moral judgment in contraceptive use," was published in the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health earlier this year.

Related Stories

iPLEDGE isotretinoin counseling may need updating

date Apr 15, 2014

(HealthDay)—The iPLEDGE program needs to provide women with information about more contraceptive choices, including reversible contraceptives, according to research published in the April issue of JAMA De ...

Recommended for you

Breastfeeding protects against environmental pollution

date May 22, 2015

Living in a city with a high level of vehicle traffic or close to a steel works means living with two intense sources of environmental pollution. However, a study conducted by the UPV/EHU researcher Aitana ...

When it comes to hearing, diet may trump noise exposure

date May 22, 2015

Although the old wives' tale about carrots being good for your eyesight has been debunked, University of Florida researchers have found a link between healthy eating and another of your five senses: hearing.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.