A new study from the Harbor UCLA Medical Center asked women from all walks of life to rate the risks of pregnancy versus birth control. The 246 women of all ages, education levels, and family sizes knew about some risks, but didn’t know which were more likely to occur. About half of the participants knew that pregnancy causes an increased risk of blood clots, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Women who had completed high school were more likely than women who hadn’t to know about these increased risks (29% versus 57%).
Over three-quarters of the women thought that taking the pill was more dangerous than being pregnant. In fact, the opposite is true. For a 15- to 34-year-old woman in the U.S., the risk of dying as a result of taking the pill is 1 in 1,667,000, or “roughly equivalent to the risk of being struck by lightning.” The risk of dying during pregnancy or childbirth, on the other hand, is about 400 times higher (1 in 4,170). Compared to pill brands that carry a higher risk of blood clots, pregnancy is still riskier. Interestingly, more educated women were more likely to overestimate the risks of the pill (80% versus 67%). A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, perhaps?
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