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Few Women With Chronic Health Issues Use Reliable Birth Control

Nearly a third of women of reproductive age found to have one or more chronic health conditions

THURSDAY, Nov. 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) — One in three women of reproductive age have a chronic condition that could compromise their health or lead to adverse outcomes during pregnancy, yet few use the most effective forms of contraception, according to a study published online Nov. 7 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Lori M. Gawron, M.D., from the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, and colleagues evaluated administrative data to assess the relationship between chronic health conditions and use of highly effective contraception among reproductive-age women. The analysis included 741,612 women (16 to 49 years old) who accessed care in the two largest health systems in the U.S. Intermountain West during 2010 through 2014.

The researchers found that 32.4 percent of women had at least one chronic health condition and 7.3 percent had at least two chronic conditions. More women with a chronic health condition used highly effective contraception versus women without a chronic condition (7.6 versus 5.1 percent). Public health insurance was more likely among women with chronic conditions. Adjusting for age, race, ethnicity, and payer, women with chronic conditions were more likely to use highly effective contraception compared with women without chronic conditions (adjusted risk ratio [aRR], 1.4). There was an association between public insurance coverage and both use of long-acting reversible contraception (aRR, 2.2) and permanent contraception (aRR, 2.9).

“This also presents health care providers with a tremendous opportunity to increase awareness of and access to forms of contraception that are acceptable to these women so they can optimize their health prior to pregnancy, and achieve their reproductive goals without medical complications,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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