Women's Health

Stressed women are less likely to take their birth control

Stressed and depressed women are less likely to use their birth control properly and continuously, according to a study of Michigan women.

Yet it's exactly these women who should be taking their birth control, experts believe.

Unwanted or unplanned pregnancies would seem to be the last thing depressed women need to face.

Researchers from the University of Michigan looked at the birth control habits of nearly 700 women, aged 18 and 19.

They documented their mental health status and recorded their weekly sexual activity and birth control use in a journal for a year.

Overall, the women used effective birth control (usually condoms or the Pill) every time -- nearly 80 percent of the time.

Roughly one-quarter of the women studied had moderate-to-severe stress and the same percentage had moderate-to-severe depression.

There was a marked difference in the use of birth control with women who were very stressed or depressed.

According to a report on the study from the Today Show, "For women with depression, the odds of using contraception consistently each week was 47 percent lower than for women with less severe symptoms. For those with stress, the odds of using contraception consistently were 69 percent lower."

Stress and depression could cause women to forget about taking birth control or cause irregular periods. Such women could more easily give in to pressure from their partner to have unprotected sex.
More From EmpowHER:
Chemotherapy and Your Sex Life

Dealing with Breast Cancer During Pregnancy

Minority Women’s Breast Cancer Treatment May Explain Poorer Outcomes

Other factors like the cost of birth control or lack of health insurance to provide it could also be an issue.

And it should also be noted that the women studied were still technically teenagers -- perhaps still not ready for sexual responsibility.

EmpowHER has received thousands of questions about missed pills, unsafe sex and queries from young women who have received no education when it comes to sexual health and how to protect themselves from pregnancy.

Stress can be caused by pregnancy fears alone, so someone who was previously facing anxiety or depression may face both physical and emotional distress to a rather extreme degree.

For those looking at birth control options and their approximately costs, EmpowHER has this information. If you would like more information, you can go to www.plannedparenthood.com/

Hormonal Birth Control Options / Rate of Effectiveness / Costs

The Pill / 92 percent / $14-$50 per month

Contraceptive Ring / 92 percent / $15-$50 per month

Shot / 97 percent / $35-$75 every 3 months

Implant / 99 percent / $400-$800 every 3 years

Patch / 92 percent / $14-$50 per month

Hormonal IUD / 99.8 percent / $250-$950 every 5 years

Morning-After Pill / 89 percent / $10-$70 per use

The morning-after pill or emergency contraception should be used for emergencies only and not as regular birth control.

It's important to know that that several community organizations, health facilities and free clinics offer condoms at no cost and a simple Google search in any given area can locate these places.

Unplanned children can be a source of great joy to women and men. But some can also be unwanted and can contribute to depression, poor choices, living at or below the poverty line and being unable or unwilling to care appropriately for a young baby.

Preventing pregnancy in the first place is extremely important for all women who do not want, cannot afford or are otherwise not ready for the huge responsibility of raising a baby to adulthood.