We all know how babies are made and yet, as a new study points outs, when it comes to pregnancy prevention, the burden falls almost entirely on the woman.
While most forms of effective birth control are designed for a woman’s body (another institutionalized bias that makes women solely responsible), men can also “be involved in the physical, mental, and emotional work it takes to avoid getting pregnant,” Katrina Kimport, the study’s author, tells Broadly.
“Not only does taking contraception involve physical labor — whether that’s taking a daily pill, getting a regular shot, or having an IUD inserted — it also takes a toll mentally and emotionally, the study states.” And a woman in the US will typically spend 30 years of her life doing “fertility work” on her own.
An associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, Kimport asked 342 patients to record their contraceptive counseling sessions with their doctors and then analyzed 52 of those conversations with women who said they did not want to have any children in the future, says Lawson.
Turns out, most doctors have normalized the notion that contraception is “women’s work.” But sexually-active couples can be proactive, Kimport tells Lawson. She recommends talking about the mental and emotional work of choosing and using contraception, also suggesting that men could assist by picking up prescription refills; or doing more of the household chores when the woman has an appointment; or “perhaps more radically for many people, partners could be in charge of keeping track of the woman using the method such as taking a daily pill or changing the patch or ring (just as women often supervise vitamin and medication consumption for children and spouses).”