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Systematic Review

Vol. 20 No. 2 (2022): New Horizons: Innovation in Medicine

The Effect of Perceived Weight Gain on Hormonal Contraception Choice for Women: A Review

May 7, 2021



Background: Hormonal contraception plays a pivotal role in protecting against unintended pregnancies and has been developed to provide options that best fit women's lifestyles. However, negative perceptions can alter women's attitudes, which can prohibit the usage of hormonal contraception. This review aimed to collect information surrounding perceptions of hormonal contraception side effects, specifically weight gain and women's contraceptive choice.


Methods: 703 articles were found through searching three electronic databases; EBSCO, PubMed, and Web of Science, in addition to Google Scholar. Articles were included if they were published between 2009-2020, could be translated to English, included any form of hormonal contraception, and reported perceived weight gain. A total of 39 articles met the inclusion criteria and are included in the review.


Results: Within those articles, there were six overarching themes: (1) negative perception of weight gain, (2) fear of weight gain, (3) contraception decision based on obesity concerns, (4) avoidance and discontinuation of method due to concerns of weight gain, (5) limited contraceptive knowledge, and (6) lack of counseling. It was found that negative perceptions of weight gain influence women’s hormonal contraception perception and attitude.


Conclusion: Negative perceptions are derived from experience, misconception, and lack of knowledge, leading to fear, avoidance, or discontinuation. Understanding women's perceived weight gain and perception towards contraceptives can help assess its effect on women's choice of contraception. This information can aid health care professionals in educating and discussing methods that would best fit women and improve hormonal contraception adherence.



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