01 12 / 2012
I was on the Planned Parenthood website and I read that some types of birth control are less effective for women over 198 pounds. I weigh about 240 pounds and this kind of freaked me out - I’m not sexually active but I didn’t realize that my options might be limited because of my weight. Do you know anything about this/ what types of birth control this affects? Thanks!
This unfortunatly is not something I know too much about. I did a bit of research on the subject, and it seems that a major reason that this disclaimer is made is because people who were overweight or obese were not included in the clinical trials for these methods (1). I also turned up some of the actual studies that found that weight is a factor in the effectiveness of birth control (2). However, these studies point to issues with just a couple of methods- mainly oral contraceptives. It is also worth noting that even though these methods may be less effective in overweight people, they are still extremely effective in general (3).
Its easy to get freaked out about all of the noise about birth control and weight, but don’t panic! The best person to talk to is your medical provider. They will be able to recommend the method that will work best for your body and lifestyle.
Furious at “people who were overweight or obese were not included in the clinical trials for these methods (1). […] weight is a factor in the effectiveness of birth control”.
In the last two years I’ve started yoyoing (not really through any medical stuff or major lifestyle changes, just through aging, I guess—I’m 24)around the boundary line between the overweight BMI category, where I’ve been pretty comfortable since adolescence, and the obese BMI category, where I am less comfortable for various social reasons, and reading a lot more about fat acceptance, which I haven’t seen as part of the story of reproductive justice except in the sense that it needs to be mentioned again and again that fat people are indeed sexual. But this article kind of clicked for me—what this means for the intersection of fat and reproductive justice is that fat people who can get pregnant who are on the pill (for example: many 24-year-olds) might be more likely to have unintended pregnancies due to certain kinds of contraceptive failure.
Additionally, being fat can disqualify you from receiving a termination at some facilities. So you get prescribed pregnancy prevention that wasn’t tested for fat people, you get pregnant, and you can’t have an abortion because some doctors are more hesitant to treat fat people.
This can mean that the process of finding an abortion provider who will help you with a termination, which can already be a very, very hard process in many red states, becomes a degree harder if you’re fat.
And, guess where in the country you’re more likely to be fat?
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