To understand women’s preferences for specific features of contraceptive methods, the extent to which features of existing methods match women’s preferences, and whether this match differs by racial and ethnic subgroups.
Using data from 1,783 women in family planning and abortion clinics across the United States, we performed analyses of racial and ethnic differences in contraceptive features reported to be “extremely important” by participants. We explored how preferences vary for more and less effective contraceptive methods.
In multivariate analysis non-Hispanic Black, Latinas and Asian Pacific Islander women were more likely to report the following features as “extremely important” compared to non-Hispanic Whites (p<0.05): being able to stop using the method at any time, using a method only with intercourse, and the method not changing her menstrual periods. Non-Hispanic Black and Latina women were statistically more likely to report that protection against sexually transmitted diseases, having control over when and whether to use the method and being able to become pregnant after stopping use were extremely important. The contraceptive feature preferences of racial and ethnic minority women in our study had a relatively lower match with high efficacy methods and higher match for low efficacy methods compared to White women (p<0.05).
High rates of unintended pregnancy among minority women may be due in part to differences in contraceptive features preferences, and discrepancy between their preferences and the features of currently available highly effective methods.
In the context of disparities in rates of unintended pregnancy by racial and ethnic group, this variation in preferences for contraceptive features by race/ethnicity may explain differences in contraceptive use and can inform the development of more acceptable methods of contraception.
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Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, UCSF
Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, UCSF
Corresponding author at: University of California San Francisco, Women’s Health Center, 2356 Sutter Street, J-140, San Francisco, CA 94115
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