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We’ve Come A Long Way Baby!

We’ve made some advances since Grandma planned her family…..

There has been much politicking lately regarding women’s reproductive rights. The left, the right, and the middle all have their opinions. Some opinions regarding reproduction and contraception are based on religious beliefs, others on health concerns and personal preferences. These personal opinions and beliefs vary greatly and are as diverse as the melting pot known as the U.S.A.

Contraception, when used correctly and consistently, is a method of avoiding an unintentional pregnancy. Birth control methods have been documented over the course of centuries. Methods of contraception dating as far back to ancient Egyptian times included the use of barrier methods created with natural substances, lactation to suppress ovulation, and coitus interruptus.

Over the course of time contraceptive methods evolved, but it was not until the early 20th in century in the United States when women’s access to safe and reliable birth control became an issue for political activists. Women at the forefront of this movement included Margaret Sanger.

Despite the growing women’s liberation movement, many American women were still in the dark regarding contraception. Dee, who was born in 1938, knew very little in regards to birth control and family planning as she reached adulthood. According to Dee, now a wizened senior citizen, she utilized natural family planning during the early years of her marriage.   Dee, who is very comical, says, “I used to use the rhythm method, but I was never very good with math, I kept getting pregnant.” During the 1960’s Dee had her first three children in just 2 ½ years. Eventually Dee’s doctor presented her with some family planning options that were more medically reliable than her “bad math.” Dee’s initial lessons in birth control, as handed down to her by her immigrant mother consisted of “you play with fire, you get burned.” Many have heard the jokes about keeping an “aspirin between the knees” to prevent pregnancy. For some women, their knowledge of reproduction and contraception was vague and unclear, and they realized soon the good old aspirin trick really didn’t work.

Lack of access to birth control for first half of the 20th century was not unusual, even for married women.   A law which existed here in Connecticut did not allow individuals to use “any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception.” Griswold vs. Connecticut was tried before the Supreme Court and the law was struck down indicating it violated marital privacy.

Today, women have a wide variety of options in regarding to choosing how and when to start a family. In addition, some women have found secondary reasons for using hormonal contraceptives to address the symptoms of various conditions including heavy menstrual bleeding, painful menses, irregular periods, endometriosis, and even acne.

Today in New London clinical trials are underway to test options for female contraception including birth control rings. These rings administer hormones directly to a women’s reproductive organs, and unlike oral contraceptive medications, do not have to be processed through the liver. In order to determine the safety and efficacy of these investigational medications, female volunteers 18 and above are sought to participate in the research studies. The women involved in this research study provide invaluable information which will help medical researchers determine the safety and efficacy of these investigational devices. We thank all those who come forward to be a part of the clinical research process. Call to learn more at 860-443-4567 or email marylou@ccrstudies.com.