Safe Contraception Prescription Guidelines from the CDC

Unplanned pregnancy has major health consequences for both mother and child. The CDC in 2010 issued an outstanding guideline for the safe use of contraception in women with all sorts of medical conditions.

This guide is entitled “U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010
Adapted from the World Health Organization Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 4th Edition”. The document is 88 pages and covers numerous women’s health problems and provides guidance on choosing the safest options.

For example, what contraceptive method should be chosen for a women with headaches as the concern is that there might be an increased of stroke with combination oral contraceptive pills. Oral contraceptive pills for patients with non-migraine headaches whether mild or severe are rated as 1 (A   condition for which there is no restriction for the use of the contraceptive method) or 2 (A condition for which the advantages of using the method generally outweigh the theoretical or proven risks).

For patients with migraine, with or without aura, the risks of combination oral contraceptives are higher  (see p 14 for details).

It is easy to find the recommendations for contraception for most serious medical problems and the recommendations are clear and thoughtful.

Most important the document will allow the patient to understand risks and benefits and to be the decision maker.

There is a 2011 update “Update to  CDC’s U.S. Medical Eligbility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010:
Revised Recommendations for the Use of Contraceptive Methods During the Postpartum Period” available at: The update is 4 pages and can be reviewed quickly.

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