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

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

New traffic lanes for Six Mile west of Burns Lake coming soon

Construction to begin on lane extension and traffic improvement

Chamber names new board for 2020

And emphasizes that Houston is open for business

Houston to host high speed electric vehicle charging station

It will be installed and paid for by BC Hydro

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read