Magazine article USA TODAY

Rethinking Contraception as Lifestyles Change

Magazine article USA TODAY

Rethinking Contraception as Lifestyles Change

Article excerpt

Despite the fact that today's mother has had seven jobs, moved eight times, and had an average of two children by the time she's 35, there is a 50-50 chance that she never has changed her birth control method or even thought about doing so. Nevertheless, "contraceptive needs change as women's life situations change," indicates Anita Nelson of the UCLA Harbor Medical Center, Torrance, Calif. "What was right for a woman when she was 21 and single may not be her best choice when she's 31, married, and has two children. There are many options available to women and it's important that they regularly take a new look."

A survey of 1,002 women by the Wirthlin Group for Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp. says that today's women want three children ideally spaced 2.6 years apart, but their contraceptive choices indicate that they may not be aware of the best birth control methods to reach those goals. Other key findings of the Family Planning and Contraception Survey include: * Mothers most frequently cite the desire to reduce sibling rivalry and allow offspring the time they need to develop self-esteem as the determinants of the ideal number of years between children. Financial concerns are prominently mentioned as well. * Seventy-three percent of women surveyed said "reversibility" was important in a contraceptive, yet national statistics show that surgical sterilization is the most frequently used method among those who have completed their families. * Ninety-five percent said convenience was important, but two-thirds use contraceptive methods that require daily attention.

"There are many contraceptive options available to women today, but one of the most appropriate for mothers spacing their children - the copper - T intrauterine device - is frequently overlooked," Nelson notes. …

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