A new study shows that many women who are using the withdrawal method of birth control are experiencing more accidental pregnancies than those using other forms. Columbus gynecologist Dr. Otto Umana has found that couples tend to use the pull-out method when they’re not really planning ahead. The main point this study makes is that withdrawal as a form of contraception is more common than thought.
The fact that women can get pregnant from unprotected sex isn’t exactly an eye-opener, but the fact that so many women use the withdrawal method is significant. And compared to women who only used other forms of birth control, more withdrawal users had also taken emergency contraception.
Why is the withdrawal method so ineffective? While the answer might seem obvious, a previous study has shown that when done right, the withdrawal method of birth control is only slightly less effective than the male condom at preventing pregnancy.
In addition, using the withdrawal method of birth control puts couples at risk for sexually-transmitted diseases. And having an unintended pregnancy can result in poor prenatal care. Complications such as neonatal death, a low birth rate can occur as a result of the poor prenatal care and this translates into higher healthcare costs.
It might also be that use of withdrawal suggests an overall pattern of inconsistent contraception use. Unfortunately, going on and off the pill, trying to remember to have condoms on hand but often forgetting, refusing to have condoms on hand unless you’re sure it’s going to happen, and, if all else fails, hoping he pulls out on time — is all too common, as this study suggests.
Ultimately, studying how young couples do or do not use birth control is important because three-quarters of births to women ages 15 to 20 are unintended. And women who depend on the withdrawal method of birth control might not recognize the degree of the risks they’re taking.
Less than 1 in 100 women will get pregnant by using IUD’s and under-the-skin implants. Somewhat less effective – but still recommended forms – include the pill, ring, path or hormone shots.
If you have any questions regarding which birth control options are best for you and your lifestyle, contact your Columbus gynecologist Dr. Otto Umana today!