Thankful for Contraceptive Empowerment

Thanksgiving is an opportunity for us all to reflect on what we are grateful for. When it comes to contraception, we believe that there are many reasons to be thankful. Particularly, we are thankful for the ability that contraceptives have to empower and transform the lives of those who use them. Taking a closer look at this: what is it that make contraceptive methods so empowering? 

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Enhanced control

The use of contraceptives have been found to contribute to outcomes that enhance women’s well-being far beyond the purpose of preventing pregnancies. These outcomes range from improving overall health, to ensuring better socioeconomic outcomes. Benefits of contraceptives can, for example, lead to ensuring women’s decision-making power, as well as securing more time and energy for other important challenges and life circumstances. Simply put, when an individual can control and understand their fertility, as well as meet their reproductive health needs, other aspects in life become easier to control.

In line with this, contraception unlocks the power of individuals to focus on other aspects in life that they would like to be empowered in. Access to, and use of contraception, therefore empowers individuals to live the lives they want as it contributes to greater control. 

Knowledge is power

Contraceptives need to be tailored to meet individual needs. This is crucial as research has demonstrated that a woman is, for example, less likely to use a contraceptive method in an optimal manner, if she does not understand the reasons she is using that particular method. Ensuring that you are knowledgeable about your contraceptive method, as well as your overall reproductive health, is therefore critical to secure your wellbeing.

To guarantee that contraceptive knowledge becomes accessible to all, it is also important to move towards societies where taboos and stigma surrounding women’s reproductive health, are removed and countered. For the past years we have for example seen how advocates raise the important question of removing taboos concerning menstruation and working to secure that women have access to tax-free tampons and pads. Such discussions are not just important to achieve their specific causes, but to open up conversations free of judgment to guarantee that all have access to evidence-based knowledge on all reproductive health topics. 

Contraceptive choice changes throughout a woman’s life

Sometimes contraceptive choice is spoken of as if there is one perfect method of contraception that will suit an individual’s needs throughout their entire life. The truth is, that changing contraceptive method, is, in fact, frequent and it occurs for a variety of reasons. Such circumstances can include concerns of side effects and a wide range of life circumstances, such as a change in relationship status or partner, workload or illness. It is, therefore, important to continually reflect on the best option and to receive information about a wide range of contraceptive options during consultations. Particularly, research has demonstrated that adding just one additional contraceptive option to a contraceptive program, is associated with an 8% decrease in contraceptive discontinuation. Despite this, however, research has shown that awareness of non-hormonal contraceptive methods can be low and here at Natural Cycles, we are therefore particularly grateful that we have an engaged Cycler community spreading the message about Natural Cycles.

Ensuring that individuals have knowledge of all accessible and suitable contraceptives is essential to secure that all individuals’ reproductive health needs can be met. Countless individuals and advocates around the world have paved the way for a wide variety of methods of contraception to be accessible and we are particularly thankful for that this year. 

Reproductive rights

Finally, we are thankful that the importance of contraception is of the highest priority for decision-makers around the world. Did you, for example, know that it is a human right to be able to freely decide on the number and spacing of children, as well as to have access to the information, education, and means to enable you to exercise these rights? Already back in 1994, decision-makers agreed that when individuals can be empowered to make their own reproductive choices, such as in regards to which method of birth control that they wish to use, communities prosper.

In this manner, contraception contributes to everyone’s well-being and empowerment. Moving forward, it is, therefore, to be hoped that we continue to push for progress to ensure that all individuals have access to suitable contraceptives. 

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Written By

Linnea Håkansson

Linnea Håkansson is Natural Cycles' Advocacy and Stakeholder Relations Manager. She has a background in women's rights law and has previously worked with SRHR questions specifically within the global women's rights movement.