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Part One // Why this research

Perceptions of Birth Control: A collection of stories and themes that emerged from interviews with undergraduates using birth control at the University of Vermont

This series of blog posts is excerpts (edited so its not so academic) of writing from my undergrad research in 2021

“You are the only data point that matters when it comes to choosing what works best for you.” 

I first became aware of friends going on birth control in high school and everyone had something different to say about how it affected them physically or emotionally. When I heard peoples’ stories about birth control, I was so confused. How could one person love it while the person next to them on the same medication could hate it so dramatically? I entered this research with the intention to collect stories and gather data to see what stories unfolded when people shared their personal experiences with birth control. There were a variety of clear themes that arose that I will get into later, but first I would like to share elements of my story and why I am drawn to this work.

With this research I wanted to make space for other peoples stories to be at the forefront of the work. I want to honor the ways in which people love their birth control and offer space for those who don’t like it to also be heard. My goal is to open a dialogue about how birth control is part of so many people's lives. Every single person has a valid story worth exploring.

When deciding what to focus on for my capstone research, there were topics to choose from, but I kept coming back to birth control. It came to mind for a variety of reasons. At the time I was interested in continuing my education with a medical degree, I had recently switched birth control methods, and someone close to me had had an abortion while still being adamant that not using hormonal birth control was right for her. I was also taking a women’s health class. The convergence of all of these things influenced my deep curiosity about how and why people use birth control. I had (and still have) so many questions, mostly centered around hormonal contraceptives.

After narrowing down my focus, I decided to frame my research proposal around one question: How does access to a primary care provider (PCP) and the medical training and perspective that person brings to birth control impact folks using birth control view their relationship to their bodies while using hormonal contraceptives? 

Follow along to see where this research took me!

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