In not-so-shocking news, wishing and hoping doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t protect you from unintended pregnancies. But unfortunately, there are a number of women who falsely believe that theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re just not at risk of getting pregnant, according to a new report by the Guttmacher Institute, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine.
The researchers analyzed in-depth interviews with 49 women obtaining abortions in the U.S. and found that the majority thought they were at low risk of becoming pregnant. The most common reasons for this included a perception of invulnerability (just feeling like they couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t or wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get pregnant), a belief that they were infertile, and a belief that they were fully protected by contraceptionÃ¢â‚¬”even if they werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t using it properly.
So why are some women just assuming theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll stay baby-free until theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re ready? Ã¢â‚¬Å“Part of the issue is that we talk a lot about women having trouble conceiving,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy to hear these stories and be fooled into thinking that accidents arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t all that common. But the truth is that half of all pregnancies in the U.S. each year are unplanned, says Minkin. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Anybody who is heterosexually active and not using protection is trying to have a baby.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Surprisingly, a third of the women in the study believed they or their partners were sterile. In reality, about 85 percent of couples will conceive within a year if theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re having unprotected sex on the regular. And while birth control definitely lowers your risk of pregnancy, not all forms are foolproof. In this current study, most of the women who thought they were protected by contraceptives also reported inconsistent or incorrect use. And in one of MinkinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s favorite Guttmacher studies, most women reported missing four birth control pills on average each monthÃ¢â‚¬”which makes them way less effective.
The bottom line: Unless your doctors tell you otherwise, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not safe to assume that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re at a low risk of becoming pregnant. The only way to lower your risk is by using effective birth controlÃ¢â‚¬”like the IUD, the Pill, or condomsÃ¢â‚¬”and using it correctly!
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