Health reasons to avoid pregnancy

We know that many women use contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancy often for social, career or economic reasons. In other words, it’s not the right time.   There are also health reasons for avoiding or delaying pregnancy.   The Association of Reproductive Health Professional has identified conditions associated with increased risk for adverse health events as a result of pregnancy.  This does NOT mean that all women with these conditions should never get pregnant, but they should have serious discussions with their health providers before they become pregnant, and in some cases, may need to avoid.  Conditions that could lead to a complicated or risky pregnancy, putting the woman at risk include

  • Breast cancer
  • Complicated valvular heart disease
  • diabetes;  insulin dependent with complications
  • Endometrial or ovarian cancer
  • epilepsy
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Bariatric Surgery in the past two years
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Malignant liver tumors and certain liver disease
  • Peripartum cardiomyopathy
  • sickle cell disease
  • Solid organ transplant within the past two years
  • stroke
  • systemic lupus
  • platelet mutations
  • tuberculosis

When politicians debate access to contraception and insurance coverage, they need to be aware that there are conditions women may have that put them at high risk for a complicated pregnancy.  Having access to contraceptive methods is critical to planning and/or preventing pregnancy in high risk women.  It’s not always about the baby—in these cases,  it is the potential mother!