Perceived access to contraception among adolescents with diabetes: Barriers to preventing pregnancy complications

Eleanor B. Schwarz, Mindy Sobota, Denise Charron-Prochownik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose The purpose of this study was to assess beliefs, perceived access to, and practices regarding contraception among adolescent women with type 1 diabetes. Methods Eighty-nine females with type 1 diabetes between the ages of 13 and 19 years, who were recruited from 2 endocrinology practices as part of a larger study, completed a battery of questionnaires designed to assess variables relevant to discussions of sexuality, preconception counseling, contraception, and pregnancy. In addition, items were designed to explore adolescents' relationship with their health care provider and comfort requesting birth control. Baseline data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results Half of the sexually active adolescents in this sample reported having had sex without birth control at a time they were trying to avoid pregnancy. A third (36%) of subjects felt that women with diabetes have very limited choices of birth control, and 43% incorrectly believe that all birth control methods are less effective when used by women with diabetes. Less than half (47%) reported that they had discussed birth control with a health care professional, and 29% of subjects reported they had not received formal instruction on birth control in any setting. Perhaps of greatest concern, only 69% stated they would feel comfortable asking a professional for birth control. Conclusion Many adolescent women with diabetes are at risk of unintended pregnancy and do not feel comfortable asking a health professional for birth control. Diabetes educators who initiate preconception counseling at puberty and discuss contraceptive options with adolescent women with diabetes may improve pregnancy outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-494
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetes Educator
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 18 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)


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