Side effects matter: An explanatory mixed methods study on client and provider perspectives for addressing contraceptive side effects
Awarded 2023
Side effects matter: Centering people’s experiences with contraceptive side effects
Comfort Olorunsaiye, PhD
Arcadia University

Contraception is essential to reproductive health because it allows individuals to plan their families and maintain bodily autonomy. However, historically, Black, Brown, and other marginalized people have been subjected to racist and unethical origins of gynecology practices, which underlie contemporary disparities in reproductive health care in the US and the mistrust between medical providers and people of color. About 53.5% of births to Black women between 2006 and 2010 were unintended compared to 30.7% to non-Hispanic White women. Although contraceptives are a powerful tool for family planning, including preventing high-risk pregnancies, delaying, spacing, or limiting births; most contracepting people discontinue their methods or switch to less effective methods because of side effects.

Knowing the potential side effects of contraceptives and having a clear and accessible process for addressing them is crucial for informed contraceptive decision-making and reproductive justice. The proposed project is designed to develop a client- and provider-informed understanding of contraceptive side effects and identify appropriate approaches for addressing contraceptive side effects.

We propose a mixed methods study design, with two specific aims, to elucidate empirical evidence on contraceptive side effects. We will conduct a cross-sectional survey with 305 women of color and people with other marginalized identities in Greater Philadelphia; the findings will inform qualitative data collection with a sub-sample of up to 30 people and 10 contraceptive providers. We expect to generate evidence on how to best support people experiencing side effects through tailored clinical support. Findings will be disseminated to stakeholders, including communities and clinicians.