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

May 28, 2014

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.

Explore further: Unplanned pregnancy remains high among young Australian women

Related Stories

Unplanned pregnancy remains high among young Australian women

April 2, 2014
Despite high rates of contraceptive use, unwanted pregnancies resulting in terminations remain high among young women.

Women seeking emergency contraception more likely to use IUDs if offered counseling and 'same-day service'

April 4, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Health care clinics should routinely offer same-day placement of intrauterine devices (IUDs) to women seeking emergency contraception, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of ...

iPLEDGE isotretinoin counseling may need updating

April 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 Dermatology.

Lack of birth control information poses danger for women on common acne drug, study finds

November 25, 2013
Women taking a widely prescribed treatment for acne, known to cause birth defects, are often not fully aware of their contraceptive choices, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School ...

Free birth control doesn't promote risky sexual behavior in women

March 7, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—New research shows that providing women with free contraception does not increase the likelihood that they will have sex with multiple partners, as critics of the practice have suggested.

Women over 40 still need effective contraception, research says

March 25, 2013
Women reaching the age of 40 tend to be less vigilant about birth control because they think the risk of pregnancy is low – or that birth control can cause health problems - but a review of the evidence by a team that includes ...

Recommended for you

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

0 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.