Why Use Contraception?

And What Even is the Purpose of Birth Control?

Why Use Contraception?
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Question: Why Use Contraception?

In order to answer the question why use contraception, we need to first understand the purpose of birth control. Although people may choose to use contraception for a variety of reasons. The purpose of birth control remains the same. Contraception allows you to prevent pregnancy. The use of contraception helps you to determine how many children you may want to have as well as the timing of your pregnancies.

Since most birth control methods are made for women (with the exception of condoms and a vasectomy), it is very common for women to use contraception based on where they are in their lives.

In the United States, about 50% of all pregnancies are not planned. Of these unintended pregnancies, about 42% end in abortion. It is estimated that one-third of American women will have had an abortion by the time they are 45 years old.

Women who choose not to use any contraception and who are sexually active for one year have an 85% chance of becoming pregnant sometime during that year. Variables such as age and frequency of sex could affect this number.

But we are fortunate to live in a day and age where there are many birth control options available. These options are typically grouped under the following categories:

    So Why Use Contraception?

    The use of contraception can significantly lower your chances of becoming pregnant. Some types of birth control can even lower your risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.

    People choose to use contraception for many reasons. Choosing the birth control method that is right for you is a personal decision and should be an informed one.

    This means that you should do your research and compare your birth control options before you start to use contraception. When you choose a method that you comfortable with, you'll be more likely to use it.

    Reasons People Give for Using Contraception:

    There is no "right" reason to use contraception. Even though the purpose of birth control is to prevent pregnancy, many women choose to use contraception because of certain health advantages. For example, some hormonal birth control methods may help regulate your period, reduce acne, and/or lower endometriosis-related pain. That being said, other reasons to use contraception include:

    • You may have decided that you don’t want to have children or would love them -– just not now.
    • You want to have more control over your life.
    • You may choose to use contraception to help space the timing of the births of your children.
    • You may not have a stable partner to help in parenting a child.
    • You feel that, at this time in your life, you are not able to take on the financial responsibilities of having a baby.
    • You may be feeling like your family is complete, so you want to make sure that you don't become pregnant again.
    • You do not feel ready to be a parent or feel that you are too young.
    • You want to focus on caring for the children you already have.
    • For health-related reasons, it may not be safe for you to have a baby.

    More on the Purpose of Birth Control and the Role it Plays in Your Life:

    Think for a moment about your own life. If the purpose of birth control is to prevent you from becoming pregnant, then the use of contraception has far-reaching implications. In fact, using contraception to prevent pregnancy can allow women:

    • To have a career -- either by being able to get a job or keep one.
    • To better financially support themselves and/or their family.
    • To stay in school and/or finish their education.
    • To take better care of themselves and/or their family.
    • To have more stability and control over their lives (by waiting for the best time to become pregnant).

    We are all individuals, and we have our own unique needs. If you feel that having a baby right now would get in the way of your goals or is something you are not ready for, then the use of contraception may be very important to you. It is very common for women to use contraception, so they can put off having children until their lives are more stable, established, and financially-secure.  

    The quality of your relationship with your partner (or not having a reliable partner) can also impact  your decision to use contraception. You may choose one birth control method over another depending on where you are in your life. For example, you may want a more effective method if you really don't want to become pregnant. People use contraception for their own, individual reasons -- reasons that take into account the purpose of birth control specifically in your life as well as your sexual, moral/religious, reproductive, and financial needs.


    Barnett B, Stein J. "Women’s voices, women’s lives: The impact of family planning. A synthesis of findings from the Women’s Studies Project." 1998; North Carolina: Family Health International. Accessed via private subscription.

    Goldin C, Katz L. "The power of the pill: Oral contraceptives and women’s career and marriage decisions." Journal of Political Economy. 2002;110(4):730–70. Accessed via private subscription.

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