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Nov 05 2013Gearing Up to Say Thanks, Birth Control
"Rocked a 4.0 because the only thing that kept me up at night was studying..."
Living in a sorority house, there are plenty of times during the day when a phone alarm goes off, reminding someone to take their birth control. Birth control is omnipresent on a college campus and especially in a sorority house--yet we don't talk about it. The alarm goes off, we reach into our bags, we take our pill, change our ring, buy a new patch and go on with what we were doing. Studying for a big test, organizing a philanthropic event, getting ready for a formal. The average college student has a LOT going on and worrying about getting pregnant before you're ready is not something you have time for. Birth control lets you decide when you're ready to start a family, and for me and the girls in my house, that's not right now. But no one gives it any credit!
99% of adults have used a form of birth control at some point in their lives. That means almost EVERYONE has used it--yet it's still not something we can talk openly about. And if we can't even talk about it, how can people be expected to be comfortable using it?
Let's get a conversation started--on November 12th (next Tuesday), show some love for birth control! Join me and tweet what birth control has allowed you to accomplish and tag it #thxbirthcontrol. We've got videos on The National Campaign's website, or head over to Bedsider for some shareable digital postcards. If I can find time to show my gratitude, so can you!
Alanna Perlstein is an intern with the Entertainment-Media team of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and a junior at University of Maryland, College Park. Originally from Highland Mills, NY, Alanna spends her downtime at school involved in her sorority and enjoying life before she becomes a "real person."
Oct 21 2013Are Unplanned Pregnancies a Good Thing?
This recent Jezebel post on "10 Advantages to an Unplanned Pregnancy" really irritated me for some reason. I can't quite put my finger on it--perhaps it's the flippant way the author compares her life pre-pregnancy to her life post-pregnancy, but most likely it's because it actually seems like she wanted to get pregnant (or at least was open to the possibility). So she thought her husband was infertile (you can get the details on that here) and was shocked when she saw the + sign on the pregnancy test. It remains the case that she had a partner who was willing and able to parent with her. She also had a job and an education, so while it seems as though she decided to make a career change, she was fairly prepared to do so. What about the thousands of women who find out that they're pregnant and don't have a career to "figure out"? Or those who just met their partner and don't have much of a relationship with that person yet? Perhaps the pregnancy will bring them closer and perhaps they'll really get their butts in gear after seeing that + sign. But isn't that a lot of responsibility to put on the shoulders of a baby? We're too lazy or scared to make decisions on our own so we have to wait for something to happen to us before we make a change?
I get it that life happens and many, many things are totally out of our control, especially things related to pregnancy and childbearing. I also get it that getting pregnant and having a baby is a lot of work (just coming off of a solo-parenting weekend for my 13 month old, I really get it)--but I also think that we can do a better job as a country making decisions about when and under what circumstances we want to start our families.
While it's true that almost half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, it doesn't mean it has to stay that way (take a look at the plummeting teen birth rate for inspiration). Shouldn't we at the very least decide with our partners when we might be open to the possibility of kids? Until then, maybe we can just use birth control--there are plenty of options out there.
Oct 16 2013Engines and IUDs: (More) Sex Ed With Guy Nottadadi
Guy is back--and this time he's talking about the long-acting, low-maintenance IUD.
BTW, if you or someone you know has heard scary rumors about the IUD--particularly the Mirena (which has been the subject of a lot of scary lawsuit ads lately)--you might want to read (or share) this article by one of Bedsider's medical experts separating the fact from the fiction.
Sep 26 2013Planning a Pregnancy in the U.S.? You Might Want to Consider a Loan
The United States is the most expensive place in the world to give birth, according to the International Federation of Health Plans (IFHP). Over the last 15 years, the cost of vaginal deliveries has practically doubled in the U.S., shooting up from $4,918 to $9,294, while the cost of C-sections has increased 70 percent from an average of $8,268 to $14,055, according to Truven Health Analytics.
Check out these moms' stories about the rising costs of childbearing in the US. And as Professor Eugene Declercq put it in an article for CNN, "What's ironic is we can't even claim that the extra expense pays off in healthier mothers and babies." According to a study by the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. ranks at or near the bottom on virtually all maternity care outcomes.
Childbirth in the United States is uniquely expensive, and maternity and newborn care constitute the single biggest category of hospital payouts for most commercial insurers and state Medicaid programs. The cumulative cost of approximately four million annual births is well over $50 billion. Starting next year, insurance policies will be required under the Affordable Care Act to include maternity coverage, so no woman should be left paying entirely on her own. Medicaid, the federal-state government health insurance program for the poor, currently pays for more than 40 percent of all births nationally. Forget college funds, parents-to-be need to start saving just for the birth of their child!
Aug 13 2013Cosmo and Condoms (and So Much More)
A few months ago, we teamed up with our friends at Cosmopolitan magazine to talk birth control. Never ones to shy away from racy subject matter, Cosmo agreed that their typical reader was probably interested in avoiding an unplanned pregnancy when trying out one of the magazine's hot sex tips.
Together we polled more than 1,000 sexually active single women, ages 18 to 29. The results, available in full in our new publication Contraception Calling, are fascinating. While the majority of women surveyed don't want a baby right now, more than half aren't using contraception consistently. What's one tip for not-so-hot sex? A crying baby in the background.
- One in three women have used emergency contraception, making it the third most commonly used form of birth control after condoms and the pill.
- While just 5% have tried the IUD and 2% the implant, the majority of those who have tried a LARC say those methods are their favorites.
- One-third of women surveyed are uneasy about what the pill might mean for their fertility in the future and a quarter are scared by the medical warnings they see on TV commercials.
- 25% of women say that taking a pill every day just "doesn't work for me," and more than a third say forgetting to take the pill is something they talk about with their friends.
- Half the women surveyed say that cost has kept them from using a more effective yet more expensive method.
- Nearly seven in 10 say they wish the TV shows and movies they liked portrayed contraceptive use as a "normal part of sexual relationships and encounters," and more than half wish celebrities and other high-profile people talked more openly about birth control.