Priorities for birth control decision making

When it comes to discussing birth control options, women and their physicians have differing opinions about what’s most important.

For doctors, the most important things to discuss are how to use contraceptives and which methods are most effective at preventing pregnancy, according to a survey published in the journal Contraception.

Women, however, are most concerned about safety, side effects and how the contraceptives work.

Researchers surveyed more than 400 women ages 15 to 45 and nearly 200 health care providers. The women were all either using or interested in using contraceptives.

Among the women, 41 percent ranked questions about safety as one of their top three concerns. Only 20 percent of physicians thought safety was a top priority.

“The main takeaway is really that it’s very important for providers to speak about what’s most important to women,” Kyla Donnelly, a reproductive health researcher who led the study, told NPR.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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