, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 119-125
Date: 05 May 2011

Putting risk into perspective: The US medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use

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Unintended pregnancy remains a considerable problem in the United States, with health risks for both mother and infant. These risks may be increased among women with medical conditions, for whom pregnancy can lead to severe adverse outcomes. Highly effective and safe contraceptive methods are available to prevent unintended pregnancy. However, women with medical conditions and their providers also may be concerned about potential risks associated with contraceptive method use. Evidence-based guidance documents can be helpful tools for clinicians to efficiently use evidence and put risks into perspective. The US Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010, provides evidence-based recommendations for the safety of contraceptive use among women with medical conditions and other characteristics. While some contraceptive methods pose risks for some women, these must be considered in context and weighed against such considerations as the absolute risk of adverse events and the risks associated with pregnancy. Most women, even women with medical conditions, can safely use highly effective methods of contraception and promoting their use will further efforts to reduce unintended pregnancy.

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.