On May 9, 1960, the FDA approved the first oral contraceptive. It’s hard to imagine, but shortly before that, contraception was illegal to distribute through the mail, much less a clinic. Today, there is a birth control method available for most women. There have been a lot of changes to birth control in the last sixty years. However, some of the most significant changes have been related to the impact on women’s lives.
Women In Control
\In the past, women had minimal choices for contraception. Before the pill’s approval, women relied on less effective birth control means like abstinence, condoms, diaphragms, and sponges. Condoms also meant that two people were involved in the decision to use it. The pill, however, was discreet, and it was up to a woman’s sole discretion, independent of their spouse or partner.
For the first time, women controlled childbearing and planned their lives and careers accordingly. Sex was finally separated from procreation, setting women free from unplanned pregnancies and obligations to marry with them. Women were getting their education and settling into careers once only held by men. Eventually, it became more acceptable to be an older mom, a mom who worked, and a mother in a domestic, unmarried relationship.
Improvements to Health
Although birth control was primarily designed to prevent pregnancy, hormonal birth control also has many non-contraceptive benefits. They can improve menstrual cramps, heavy bleeding, and endometriosis symptoms. In women with polycystic ovary syndrome, they also help manage acne and excess hair growth.
On average, women will use birth control for more than a third of their lives. Because of this, the need to have safe, effective options for every woman is vital. Since the first birth control pill was developed and approved, many more options are now available to meet the needs of women.
Until every woman’s contraceptive needs are met, more work through clinical research and trials must be done. To learn more about enrolling birth control pill studies at Women’s Healthcare Research, click here or call (858) 505-8672.