World Contraception Day is an annual worldwide campaign to improve awareness of contraception. The goal is to allow women to make informed choices about their reproductive health, in the hope that every pregnancy is intentional.

For women who have certain chronic or pre-existing conditions, information on contraception may be even more vital.

Why focus on this group of women?

More and more, women of reproductive age have chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Pregnancies in women with chronic conditions can often be high risk.  These women may also require medications that should not be used during pregnancy. Therefore, a carefully planned pregnancy is key.

How does contraception help?

Planning a pregnancy through the use of effective contraception has many advantages:

  1. Optimize the health of the woman prior to pregnancy by stabilizing her medical condition or getting the medical condition under better control
  2. Switch medications to those that are acceptable during pregnancy
  3. Avoid complications in pregnancy by entering pregnancy in the best state of health

When is a good time to discuss contraception?

About half of the pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Women of reproductive age should discuss contraception with a health care provider regularly. When a woman with a medical condition is considering pregnancy, she should discuss the timing of the pregnancy with her maternity care provider and with an obstetric medicine physician.

Obstetric physicians provide expert management of chronic medical conditions in women who are diagnosed prior to pregnancy or for new medical problems that develop during a pregnancy. If a doctor recommends she wait to become pregnant, she will need appropriate contraception. After delivery, that postpartum period is another important time to discuss future plans for pregnancy and contraception.

What type of contraception should women with medical problems use?

Contraception should be appropriate, safe and effective. The choice of contraception should be tailored to the individual woman and her medical history. For example, estrogen-containing contraceptives are avoided in women who may have had a stroke or a blood clot.

There are many forms of contraception available today – oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices (IUDs), diaphragms, implants and more. Discussing your options with a provider can help you make a safe decision that’s right for your medical condition. Another GREAT source for preconception planning is the CDC’s “Show Your Love” campaign.

Visit our website for more information on birth control.

At the Women’s Medicine Collaborative, we provide care before, during, and after pregnancy. Learn more about our obstetrics and gynecology services and how we can help you.

Tabassum Firoz, MD

Dr. Tabassum Firoz is a physician in obstetric medicine at the Lifespan Women’s Medicine Collaborative. She is trained in internal medicine and her clinical and research interests include global maternal health policy, pre-eclampsia, and postpartum cardiovascular risk reduction.

Obstetric Medicine»