According to a new study, many young women who use the “pull-out method” for birth control tend to have more unintended pregnancies than other women.
The researchers compiled surveys from more than 2,000 women ages 15 to 24 found 31 percent had used the pull-out method, also known as withdrawal or coitus interruptus, over the last two years. It was found by the researchers that 21 percent reported having an unintended pregnancy. In contrast, 13 percent of women who only used other forms of birth control got pregnant unintentionally.
“We found that people tend to use the withdrawal method when they’re not really planning ahead,” Dr. Annie Dude, a resident in obstetrics and gynecology at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, and lead author of the paper, said.
“It’s a lot more common than many people realize,” she said.
Dude went on to add that withdrawal doesn’t work as well as other birth control methods to avoid unintended pregnancies.
Women using the pull-out method instead of condoms are also at risk for sexually transmitted infections, such as Chlamydia and HIV.
“I’m really excited that the authors took a look at the use of withdrawal because it certainly reflects what I see in my own clinical practice,” said Dr. Nancy Stanwood, section chief of family planning at the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.
“The main point this study makes is that withdrawal as a form of contraception is more common than we thought,” Stanwood said.
“It’s associated with higher risk of unintended pregnancies, and higher risk of using emergency contraception. Women who use it might not recognize the degree of the risks they’re taking.”