Women and health-care providers differ on what matters most about contraception

June 9, 2014

When women are choosing a contraceptive, health care providers should be aware that the things they want to discuss may differ from what women want to hear, according to a survey published in the recent issue of the journal Contraception.

Most of the information women receive about contraceptives focuses heavily on the effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, but this information was ranked fifth in importance by women, according to the study conducted by researchers at Dartmouth College.

The researchers conducted an of 417 women, aged 15-45, and 188 multidisciplinary contraceptive care providers in the United States. Both groups were asked what matters most when deciding on a contraceptive method, rating the importance of 34 questions.

The researchers found several differences. Women's number one question was about the safety of the contraceptive method, whereas for providers, it related to how the method is used.

Information about side effects was also more important to women than providers – this was in the top three questions for 26 percent of women versus 16 percent of providers, the Dartmouth researchers said.

This first study to simultaneously explore the priorities of women and highlighted the importance of efforts to elicit each woman's preferences and values as part of a shared decision-making process.

"Everything we hear suggests that women are struggling to choose the contraceptive method that best fits their unique needs and preferences," said lead author of the study, Kyla Donnelly of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice. "Our findings suggest that this mismatch between what women want to know and what providers want to discuss may be a key factor."

Latest data suggest that in the United States, 51 percent of all pregnancies are unintended. There are more than 20 different methods of contraception available to women that vary substantially in their method of use, effectiveness, side effects and other features.

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, more women now than ever have access to a full range of contraceptive methods and counseling, free of out-of-pocket costs. The ACA also promotes shared decision-making and the use of decision support tools in health care.

In order for women and their providers to have better conversations about contraception, researchers at Dartmouth are developing brief tools, called Option Grids™ These tools are designed to help women and providers work together to compare available on the things that matter most. The researchers conducted the survey in an effort to inform the content of the tools.

"Supporting to choose the contraceptive method that fits their preferences and lifestyle is a critical part of providing patient-centered care and preventing unintended pregnancy," said co-author, Dr. Rachel Thompson from The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science. "Given the current unprecedented access to contraception in the U.S., facilitating shared decision-making in the clinical encounter is critical."

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

More information: Paper: www.sciencedirect.com/science/ … ii/S0010782414001978

Related Stories

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 ...

Attention to postpartum contraception needed

April 2, 2014
(HealthDay)—Women in the postpartum period should receive counseling and access to contraceptive methods to promote optimal birth spacing, according to research published in the April issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics ...

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 with unintended pregnancies take the shortest maternity leaves

May 5, 2014
Mothers in the United States who have unintended pregnancies return to work sooner after childbirth than mothers whose pregnancy was intended, according to a study led by Dr. Rada K. Dagher, assistant professor of health ...

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.

Recommended for you

Technology is changing Generation smartphone, and not always for the better

August 16, 2017
It's easy to imagine some graybeard long ago weighing in on how this new generation, with all its fancy wheels, missed out on the benefits of dragging stuff from place to place.

The environmental injustice of beauty

August 16, 2017
Women of color have higher levels of beauty-product-related chemicals in their bodies compared to white women, according to a commentary published today in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The authors say ...

Heavily used pesticide linked to breathing problems in farmworkers' children

August 15, 2017
Elemental sulfur, the most heavily used pesticide in California, may harm the respiratory health of children living near farms that use the pesticide, according to new research led by UC Berkeley.

Taking a stand on staying mobile after 80

August 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—If you want to stay as fit as possible well into your 80s, the answer may be as simple as standing on your own two feet.

Binge-watching 'The Walking Dead?' You might feel like a zombie yourself

August 14, 2017
Binge-watching is a great way for young adults to catch up on multiple episodes of their favorite television series like "The Walking Dead" or "Game of Thrones," but it comes at a price.

Bugs on the menu at Swiss supermarket

August 14, 2017
Switzerland's first insect-based food aimed at humans will go on sale next week following a revision of the country's food safety laws, a supermarket chain said Monday.

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.