Posts Tagged ‘ birth control pills ’

Lower Abortion, Teen Pregnancy Rates Due to Free Birth Control, Study Finds

Monday, October 8th, 2012

A new large-scale study has found that access to free contraceptive pills is part of the explanation for well-documented drops in the rates of both teen pregnancy and abortions.   The finding comes just before the Obama administration’s health care law takes effect, including provisions that will offer birth control coverage to women nationwide. The Associated Press has more:

When price wasn’t an issue, women flocked to the most effective contraceptives — the implanted options, which typically cost hundreds of dollars up-front to insert. These women experienced far fewer unintended pregnancies as a result, reported Dr. Jeffrey Peipert of Washington University in St. Louis in a study published Thursday.

The effect on teen pregnancy was striking: There were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study. Compare that to a national rate of 34 births per 1,000 teens in 2010.

There also were substantially lower rates of abortion, when compared with women in the metro area and nationally: 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study, compared with 13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women overall in the St. Louis region, Peipert calculated. That’s lower than the national rate, too, which is almost 20 abortions per 1,000 women.

In fact, if the program were expanded, one abortion could be prevented for every 79 to 137 women given a free contraceptive choice, Peipert’s team reported in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Image: Birth control pills, via Shutterstock

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New Women’s Health Benefits Begin Under New Health Care Law

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Starting Wednesday (August 1), American women will be entitled to free birth control pills, Pap smear tests, and mammograms as a provision of the new health care law takes effect.  NBC News reports that women will also be entitled to free breastfeeding support, supplies for gestational diabetes, and screening for domestic violence:

It’s not clear how many women will take adavantage of the new policy, but the US Health and Human Services Department estimates that 47 million women, ages 15 to 64, have private health insurance plans that will be affected. The 2010 health reform law requires policies provided by private health insurance companies pay for a list of women’s health preventive services, starting August 1.

However, there may be a delay in services for many women. The law applies to new policies — women with existing coverage may have to wait for their policies to renew for the requirements to kick in, which could take months. Many health insurers already provide this coverage.

The new rules are based on guidelines from the independent, non-partisan Institute of Medicine, which said paying for these services will save money and lives down the road.

“We want healthy women to have healthy babies,” said Dr. Jennifer Howse, president of the March of Dimes Foundation, a charity that works to prevent birth defects. “Receiving regular medical care greatly increases the likelihood that important messages can be delivered to pregnant women around issues such as nutrition and tobacco cessation, and provides opportunities to detect potentially dangerous conditions like gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.”

There are a few exceptions. Purely religious employers don’t have to provide the services to employees if they object. Related groups, such as Catholic-affiliated universities, have objected so the Obama administration offered what it called an accommodation, forcing the insurance companies themselves to pay for the coverage. But the religious associations still object, as do Republicans in Congress. They have promised to repeal the whole law if they win enough seats in the November election.

Image: Birth control pills, via Shutterstock

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Birth Control Pill’s Effectiveness in Overweight Women Questioned

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Extensive research is needed to explore the question of whether hormone-based birth control is less effective in women who are overweight, a group of doctors said in a media conference call Thursday.

The Boston Globe’s Daily Dose blogger was on the call and reports on the three major sources of concern among researchers:

1. Implanon implant may not work as effectively. [Dr. Melissa] Gilliam, [board president of the Society of Family Planning], conducted a small study measuring how well Implanon — a three-year implant inserted beneath the skin of the arm — works in obese women; she found that blood levels of etonogestrel, released by the implant to prevent ovulation, were markedly lower in obese women compared to women who weren’t overweight.

“We don’t want to say this reflects clinical efficacy since the hormone levels were still high enough to prevent ovulation,” said Gilliam. “But this is the first study to look at Implanon in obese women and it gives us some indication that it behaves differently. We need more information on this from larger studies.”

2. Later hormone peak for pill. Other researchers examined the more commonly used oral contraceptives and found that obese women who take the pill, on average, don’t reach a prime hormone level for preventing ovulation until day 10 of their pill pack, compared to women at a healthy weight who reach this hormone level by day 5. Whether this increases an obese woman’s chances of becoming pregnant isn’t known, said Dr. Alison Edelman, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health & Science University who led the study.

“Some studies do show a slight reduction in contraceptive effectiveness among obese women,” Edelman said. “But it’s a little too early to say that they need to use a different method of birth control.” Obese women may, though, want to speak to their doctors about the research findings to see whether they should take a birth control pill continuously or whether they should switch to an implant or intrauterine device to avoid having the dip in hormone levels.

3. Avoiding weight gain from Depo Provera shot. Overweight women, in particular, are looking for a contraceptive method that won’t cause weight gain. And Depo Provera — a hormone shot given once every three months — has been known to cause significant weight gain in 1 in 4 women. The trouble is doctors don’t know how to predict which women will gain those 10 pounds or more.

Image: Woman holding pills, via Shutterstock.

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1 Million Birth Control Pills Recalled Due to Possible Ineffectiveness

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

The drug company Pfizer has issued a recall for a million birth control pills sold in the U.S. because the pills may not contain enough contraceptive to prevent pregnancy.  MSNBC.com reports:

“As a result of this packaging error, the daily regimen for these oral contraceptives may be incorrect and could leave women without adequate contraception, and at risk for unintended pregnancy,” according to a Pfizer statement on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website.

Pfizer found that some packets of the drugs had too many active tablets, while others had too few.

The drugmaker said the issue involved 14 lots of Lo/Ovral-28 tablets and 14 lots of Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol tablets.

A company spokeswoman said the problem was caused by both mechanical and visual inspection failures on the packaging line, The Associated Press reported.

She said the problem has been corrected.

Image: Birth control pills, via Shutterstock.

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