Lower-income young women are less likely to use birth control pills, which can cost up to $50 a month. (Pixabay)

Low-income young women less likely to use reliable birth control, B.C. study finds

About 30 to 40 per cent of pregnancies in Canada are unintended

A study from the University of B.C. suggests that young, low-income women may not be able to afford some forms of contraception, leading to a higher risk of unintended pregnancy.

The study, published in CMAJ Open on Tuesday, looked at data from 2009-2010 and 2013-2014 from Canadian Community Health Surveys. Researchers compared household income and other socioeconomic factors among sexually active girls and women between the ages of 15 and 24 who were trying to not get pregnant.

Of those women, 59 per cent use the birth control pill, 17 per cent used condoms, 29 per cent used both condoms and either the pill or the shot, while 2.5 per cent used just the birth control shot. Another 14 per cent did not use any contraception.

About 30 to 40 per cent of pregnancies in Canada are unintended, according to the research, and Canada is one of the few countries with universal health care that does not offer free contraceptives.

The findings suggest women with a household income of under $80,000 a year were less likely to use oral contraceptives and dual protection and relied more on the shot and condoms only. Lower-income women were also more likely to not use any form of contraception at all.

Researchers said birth control pills can cost up to $50 a month and are 94-per-cent effective in typical use. Condoms, which are more affordable at $1 each, are 85-per-cent effective.

Dr. Wendy Norman, senior study author and associate professor at UBC’s department of family practice, said government needs to address the affordability of birth control.

“Not only does access to affordable contraception reduce the number of high-risk pregnancies and support women to achieve healthy spacing between planned pregnancies, it also benefits our public health system by decreasing avoidable health-care spending associated with unintended pregnancies,” Norman said.

“Unfortunately, among the contraceptives currently available in Canada, we find that the more effective methods are also the most expensive and the least utilized, especially among disadvantaged populations.”

READ MORE: Groups call on province for free prescriptions on World Contraception Day


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Home loss ends season for Sicamous Eagles

A defeat at the hands of the 100 Mile House Wranglers on Feb. 22 was the Eagles’ last outing.

PHOTOS: PeeWee Silverbacks finish season with 22 game win streak

The team has gone undefeated since November last year

Word on the street: What is your favourite pie-related memory?

With the 24th-annual Best of the Shuswap Pie Baking Contest taking place… Continue reading

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Kelowna Firefighters douse suspicious hedge fire

A 30’ section of cedar hedge burned prompting an RCMP investigation.

Kelowna RCMP make arrest in fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Elijah Beauregard

An 18-year-old woman is in police custody facing a manslughter charge.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read