During Women’s History Month, I’ve reflected on contraception. The development of the birth control pill over fifty years ago was a turning point for women, allowing them to pursue opportunities outside the home. As a family medicine physician, I enjoy helping women control their fertility and plan their pregnancies.
I like to start by asking women when they would like to have a child in the future. I try to make the point that pregnancies can be planned. If she wants to get pregnant, I discuss toxins, exposures, medicines, vaccines, and help her become as healthy as possible before she conceives. For example, one patient with poorly controlled diabetes did not realize her medical condition may have caused several miscarriages.
However, when women are not interested in getting pregnant, I want to help them choose the best contraception method for them. Scientific advances have created more long-acting, reversible options since the pill. One patient wanted to switch from an arm implant to oral contraceptives after she was unhappy with irregular periods. Recently, I helped a patient change her IUD. Yet another patient had been using an arm implant until it expired and she couldn’t afford a new one.
For these reasons, I am glad that contraception coverage is included under the Affordable Care Act. Preventing unwanted pregnancies helps women and their families. I will celebrate Women’s History Month and the 4th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act by continuing to work with women on their reproductive health.
Dr. May Nguyen is a family physician in Houston working with the National Physicians Alliance.