Researchers Observe Disparities in Contraception Use Between Ladies With, With out Diabetes

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A diagnosis of diabetes does not increase the likelihood that a person will use effective contraception and can actually reduce the use of certain types of effective contraception.

New research from the Boston University School of Medicine suggests that women with diabetes are less likely to use contraception after their diagnosis. This finding could have a significant impact on maternal and child risk during pregnancy.

According to the study’s authors, uncontrolled diabetes poses a significant risk to the health of both mother and child during pregnancy. Because of these risks, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends discussing family planning and providing effective contraception to women of childbearing potential with diabetes.

“Efforts are needed to ensure that women with diabetes receive the counseling and clinical services necessary to properly plan their pregnancy,” said the respective author, Dr. med. Mara Murray Horwitz, in a press release.

Investigators used claims data from a major national insurer to identify women of childbearing age, which they divided into two groups: those newly diagnosed with diabetes and those not diagnosed with diabetes. They then compared individuals in each group to other important variables and measured contraceptive use in the two groups in the year before and in the year after their diagnosis. Finally, they compared the change in contraceptive use from the year before diagnosis to the year after diagnosis.

The study results show that diagnosing diabetes does not increase the likelihood of effective contraception in a person and may actually lead to a decrease in the use of certain types of effective contraception, especially short-acting hormonal methods such as pills or injections.

Women with diabetes have the same birth control options and recommendations as women without diabetes, according to the ADA, and the risks of unplanned pregnancy in this population outweigh the risks of most birth control options.

“Nonetheless, many patients and doctors report concerns about the need for contraceptive safety in diabetes,” Horwitz said in the press release. “It is conceivable that – as our study shows – a diabetes diagnosis leads to less instead of more contraceptive advice, prescription and use.”

Investigators hope their results will lead to more comprehensive care for people with diabetes who may become pregnant, including family planning.

“Ultimately, we want everyone to be able to decide when and if they get pregnant and have the information, tools and support they need to optimize their pregnancy outcomes,” concluded Horwitz.

REFERENCE

Contraception differences between women with and without diabetes persist and sometimes worsen after diabetes is diagnosed [news release]. Boston University School of Medicine; March 18, 2021. https://www.bumc.bu.edu/busm/2021/03/18/disparities-in-contraception-use-between-women-with-and-with-diabetes-persist-sometimes-worsen -after-diagnosis-of-diabetes /. Accessed March 26, 2021.