December 2021: Power Updates Edition
There are plenty of articles, publications, and stories published every month. In an effort to help you distinguish fact from fiction, save time in your already busy day, and share news you may not have otherwise seen, here are nine stories from the last month we thought you might find interesting:
This survey evaluated how many pharmacies in Utah prescribe birth control and then created a map based on the results to assess its accessibility across the state. Results found that one year after the implantation of pharmacist-prescribed birth control only 27% of pharmacies were participating, most of which were in urban areas. Therefore, people living in rural places have not seen an increase in birth control access—thought to be a key benefit of pharmacist-prescribing—since implementation.
To date, there have been zero published studies in the US on men’s perception of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). This study’s authors note that while most contraceptive counseling is directed at women, men sometimes play a role in the decision-making process. After interviewing nearly 100 men between age 18 and 24, researchers found that 76% had not heard of LARCs despite 98% of those who were sexually active reporting female partners wanting to avoid pregnancy. More than 80% indicated that they would like to learn more about LARCs.
This systematic review sought to better understand global contraceptive preferences and values of pregnant and postpartum women and women seeing emergency contraception or abortion care. All four groups were influenced by factors such as effectiveness, access, cost, and side effects, yet no single method had all the features that all groups deemed important. While previous research has emphasized the convenience of LARCs, this study concludes that access to the full range of methods is best so that individuals can make their decision based on their personal values and preferences.
Pregnancy and Birth
Using data from North and South Dakota’s Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, this study found women with three or more adverse childhood experiences were twice as likely to have an unwanted pregnancy compared to women with no adverse childhood experiences. However, results found no relationship between adverse childhood experiences and mistimed pregnancies.
Severe maternal morbidity—a complication causing significant maternal harm or risk of death during birth or in the weeks postpartum—occurs in around 1.5% of women each year in the US. Racial and ethnic minorities, those with chronic conditions, and those without insurance or who use Medicaid are disproportionately more likely to experience severe maternal morbidity. This study found that the odds of severe maternal morbidity occurring decreased for all people who received contraceptive services in the year prior to conception and for those with chronic diseases who received routine exams in previous 12 months.
Transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive (TGE) people experience pregnancy, but we do not know enough about the pregnancy intentions and outcomes for TGE people. Using data from The PRIDE Study—the first large-scale, long-term national health study of people who identify as LGBTQ+—this study found that 12% of all participants had been pregnant. Of this group, 39% of pregnancies resulted in a live birth, 33% ended in miscarriage, 21% ended with an abortion, and 2% were still pregnant. More than half (54%) of the pregnancies were unintended with 15 pregnancies occurring after the person began taking testosterone and four happening while the person was taking testosterone.
Each year the CDC collects data on the number and characteristics of women who obtain legal abortions in the US. In 2019, 629,898 abortions were reported, an increase of 2% from 2018, but an overall decrease since 2010 when 762,755 abortions were reported. This decrease was highest among adolescents compared to other age groups. Among other measures, the full report also details abortion rates among specific ages groups as well as the percentage of abortions performed at specific gestational stages.
Sexual and Reproductive Health
In May 2020, Guttmacher Institute surveyed a national sample of cisgender women to learn about their access to care and their sexual and reproductive health goals during the COVID pandemic. Since then, the pandemic has continued to affect people in ongoing as well as different ways. In July and August 2021, Guttmacher conducted a second, larger survey to see the pandemic’s ongoing impact on sexual and reproductive health. This survey had four main findings:
- Fertility preferences continue to shift as access to sexual and reproductive care—including birth control access—is still more difficult.
- The impacts of the pandemic in Summer 2021 are smaller than Spring 2020, but still widespread.
- Those who experienced systemic health and social inequities prior to the pandemic continue to be disproportionately impacted.
- Telehealth is helping to decrease sexual and reproductive care access problems caused by the pandemic, especially in populations who already experiences barriers to access health care.
Previous research has shown that adolescent women in emergency departments inconsistently use birth control. This study compared usual care to an emergency department-based digital intervention combined with three months of personalized, interactive messaging to see if the intervention improved sexual and reproductive health. results showed that the emergency department intervention had both high rates of consent (84%) and follow-up (82%), and that participants overwhelmingly both liked (98%) and recommended (83%) it.