Taking control: Our recent survey says women want regular periods, no hormones and more communication about contraceptives

Taking control: Our recent survey says women want regular periods, no hormones and more communication about contraceptives

Birth control has come a long way, baby. Today, millions of women in the United States rely on contraceptives for many reasons, such as regulating their periods, preventing pregnancy, and improving their health.

But the recent US Supreme Court decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion has sparked discussion about access to birth control and what it might look like in the future.

Right now, birth control is legal in all 50 states, but we wanted to learn more about what’s important to women when it comes to contraceptives. And whether the Supreme Court decision had an impact on the decision to take up birth control.

In our recent survey of more than 5,000 people aged 18 to 55 who were assigned female at birth, we asked for thoughts on hormonal and non-hormonal birth control, including the costs and fears of unwanted pregnancy, among the other topics. We also asked more than 500 gynecology healthcare professionals (HCPs) to speak on similar topics.

We found similarities in how women and health professionals view awareness and affordability of birth control. But we also found some surprising differences.

Here’s more on the key takeaways from our survey on birth control awareness, attitudes, and beliefs.

About half of the respondents are to some extent worried about an unwanted pregnancy

Even though half of our respondents were concerned about an unwanted pregnancy, 2 out of 5 of those surveyed concerned are not using birth control. 35% said they don’t know if they can trust their birth control. It’s also not always convenient.

Birth control pills were voted most popular by respondents and most prescribed/recommended by healthcare professionals…

Most respondents knew about the pill (87%), thought it was convenient (58%) and were likely to have discussed it with their healthcare professional (58%).

… but not everyone is on the same wavelength

Fewer than half of respondents said they had discussed contraceptives with their healthcare professional during their annual review, but nearly 3 in 4 healthcare professionals (74%) reported discussing birth control with their patients.

In fact, nearly 1 in 4 respondents aged 46-55 said they have never had a discussion with a healthcare professional about birth control methods

That’s compared to just 1 in 10 younger women.

the pill is the most common birth control method discussed with the health care practitioners table

Effectiveness is the most important factor regarding birth control for both respondents and health care providers

Equally important: ease, physical discomfort, side effects, cost, health benefits such as fibroid relief.

the efficacy exceeds the criteria of importance of patients in the choice of contraceptive paper

60% of respondents prefer hormone-free birth control…

…however, 59% of health professionals recommend hormone birth control when patients have no preference.

three out of five women aged 18 to 55 prefer birth control without a hormone chart

when the patient doesn't have a preference, three out of five health care providers recommend birth control with the hormone chart

In a surprising twist, nearly half of respondents prefer to have a regular period

No typos: Most of these women said that a regular menstrual cycle signals that their body is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. Regular periods also provide peace of mind that you are not pregnant.

However, more than half (51%) of healthcare professionals said they did think their patients would I prefer not to have periods.

half of healthcare professionals believe patients prefer not to have a menstrual chart

main reasons to prefer a regular period… the body does as it should track

Overall, the US Supreme Court decision made no difference to most respondents regarding their approach to birth control

two thirds of women - no change in their birth control following table of supreme court decision

Two-thirds of respondents did not change their birth control in light of the Supreme Court decision. But a quarter of respondents said they have already changed or planned to change their birth control accordingly. And nearly half (49%) of those who made the changes opted for a durable or permanent solution (tubal ligation or IUD or implant).

For healthcare professionals: Nearly 1 in 3 (27%) said the decision changed the way they advise patients on birth control options

Of these, the majority have recommended or will begin to recommend more patients to use long-lasting birth control methods, and 6 out of 10 said they have recommended more patients to start using birth control.

of healthcare professionals who changed birth control counseling due to the Supreme Court decision, three out of four recommend/will advise more patients to use long-acting birth control

When it comes to long-lasting birth control, 4 out of 5 healthcare providers regularly prescribe IUDs

82% prescribe and insert IUDs. The most common concern of patients: pain associated with IUD insertion.

four out of five healthcare providers regularly prescribe and table IUDs

64% of healthcare professionals said their patients understand that other than abstinence, sterilization and vasectomy, IUDs are the most effective form of birth control…

… However, only 26% of respondents said they believe IUDs are the most effective.

nearly two-thirds of healthcare professionals believe patients understand the IUD efficacy chart

Finally, the majority of respondents believe that the healthcare industry is understanding their needs and wants when it comes to contraception options

Despite gaps in communication and understanding between women and healthcare professionals, 57% of respondents believe the industry is responding to their needs.

most women believe that the healthcare industry is innovating in the development of birth control paper

This resource was created with support from Sebela Women’s Health, Inc.