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Despite a variety of birth control options available today, some young women are relying on only the withdrawal method to prevent pregnancy.
Academic research finds nearly one-third of young women in the U.S. rely on only this method.
The withdrawal method, commonly known as “pulling out,” is when a couple ends intercourse before the male ejaculates. It is, to put it mildly, not the most effective birth control method.
Dr. Annie Dude, of Duke University Medical Center, and her colleagues analyzed responses given by 2,220 participants between the ages of 15 to 24 for a national survey between 2006 and 2008.
Dr. Dude, who is also a resident in the department of obstetrics and gynecology, found about one in five women who used the withdrawal method became pregnant at some point.
“A third of young women in the U.S.
rely on only the withdrawal method.”
Women who only use the withdrawal method were also 7.5% more likely to have turned to a form of emergency contraception, such as Plan B.
While women who only used withdrawal were found less likely to become pregnant during the time of the study compared to those who use withdrawal along with some other form of contraception, Dude said those findings were not statistically significant.
“Our study showed that use of withdrawal for contraception is very common, but it doesn’t work as well as other methods,” she said.
Dude said health care providers should openly discuss options in terms of birth control and not assume patients are aware of the risks.
“My overall take is that doctors think this is such an antiquated method of birth control that they don’t really think to address it with their patients,” she said.
In terms of effectiveness, Dude recommends the IUD, or intrauterine device, which is both long-lasting and reversible.
The study appears in the September 2013 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.