Shyann Stewart from North Carolina Central University shares reflections on what she learned during her internship with MCI in this blog post.
Unplanned pregnancies account for 45 percent of all pregnancies in the United States. In many of those cases, women were either taking ineffective birth control or not utilizing any birth control at all. Annually, approximately 700 women die in the United States as a result of pregnancy and childbirth complications, making it one of the highest rates in developed nations. Maternal mortality, like infant mortality and life expectancy, is seen as a key measure of a country's health and a bellwether indicator for assessing both human rights and public health.The purpose of this project is to create health promotion materials based on African American women’s perceived risk of maternal mortality, their contraceptive preferences and willingness to use male contraceptive methods.
After conducting a literature review, I furthered my research by distributing a survey to my target population asking about their experiences with their current contraceptive methods, their views on maternal mortality, and their willingness to use novel male contraceptives when they become available. The survey was distributed to black women who attend North Carolina Central University. There were a total of 24 participants, whose ages ranged from 20-29.
Here is some data I gathered from my results:
I was really worried about unintended pregnancy in high school. My periods were irregular before I got on birth control, so there was no way for me to know if I was pregnant unless I took a test. Just about every month of my senior year in high school, I was taking a test. I was always on edge.
We concluded from the survey that respondents were open to their partners using novel contraceptives. With the information gathered and the health promotion materials developed, we hope that respondents will include novel male contraceptives in their family planning discussions. When it comes to unintended pregnancy, novel male contraceptives can provide an additional barrier of protection. And, because unintended pregnancy is related to maternal mortality, we hope to see a decrease in both rates as well as an improvement in women's health outcomes.