Does body mass index or weight perception affect contraceptive use?



      Overweight and obese women may avoid contraceptive methods they believe are associated with weight gain. The objective of this study was to examine the role of weight and weight perception on contraceptive use.

      Study design

      Using cross-sectional data from the MyNewOptions study, we analyzed contraceptive use among 987 privately insured, sexually active women aged 18–40 years. Contraception was categorized into three groups: (1) long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), (2) non-LARC prescription methods and (3) nonprescription methods/no method. Multinomial logistic regression was used to model the effect of body mass index category and weight perception on contraceptive use while controlling for pregnancy intentions, sexual behavior and sociodemographic characteristics.


      Eighty-three (8.4%) women were using LARCs, 490 (49.6%) women were using non-LARC prescription methods and 414 (42.0%) were using nonprescription methods or no method. In the adjusted multinomial model, overweight [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 3.84, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.85–7.98) and obese women (aOR 2.82, 95% CI 1.18–6.72) were significantly more likely to use LARCs compared to normal-weight women. There were greater adjusted odds of overweight and obese women using nonprescription methods/no method compared with non-LARC prescription methods, but this finding did not reach statistical significance. Weight perception was not associated with contraceptive use.


      In this study sample, overweight and obese women were more likely to use LARCs than normal-weight women. It will be important to further understand how weight influences women and providers' views on contraception in order to better assist women with individualized, patient-centered contraceptive decision making.


      Overweight and obese women may be reluctant to use contraceptive methods they believe are associated with weight gain (i.e., pills, shot), but how that affects contraceptive use is unclear. Compared with normal-weight women, overweight and obese women in this study were more likely to use LARCs than non-LARC prescription methods.


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