Tell Your Friends About Your Birth Control

When choosing a contraceptive method, young women in the U.S. are influenced by recommendations from their friends and family.

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Read Time: 2 minutes


Do you remember the first time you talked about contraception with someone? Was it with a doctor? Was it with a friend or a family member?

Sixty-five percent of women in the U.S. aged 15 to 49 use some form of contraception. Of this group, more than four million women rely solely on their male partners to wear condoms. Male condoms are effective at protecting people from sexually transmitted diseases, but when it comes to pregnancy prevention, condoms are better if used alongside other forms of contraception.

Jaqueline Hirth and her team studied what contributes to some women choosing condoms over other more effective pregnancy prevention methods, surveying 2,632 women.

The graph above shows the percentage of women who relied on different types of birth control and the reasons for their preferences.

Almost half of the women relied on less effective methods, such as condoms, and primarily used them to prevent pregnancy. They listed friend or family recommendations as their primary reason for choosing condoms.

Friend and family recommendations were listed as the primary reason for choosing a contraceptive method for 15% of survey participants. In contrast, only 5% of participants listed a doctor’s recommendation as the primary reason for choosing a birth control method.

When it comes to a woman choosing a type of contraceptive, the authors suggest that the influence of friends and family is an opportunity. Encouraging users of long-acting, reversible contraceptives (such as IUDs, which are effective for years) to share their experiences may result in greater uptake of more successful pregnancy prevention methods. So, tell your friends about your birth control.

When I chose a birth control method I talked with a doctor, but more importantly I talked to my mom.

Databyte via Jacqueline M. Hirth, Erin E. Dinehart, Yu-Li Lin, Yong-Fang Kuo, and Pooja R. Patel. Reasons Why Young Women in the United States Choose Their Contraceptive Method. Journal of Women’s Health, 2021.