Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as the Intrauterine Device (IUD) and Intrauterine System (IUS) are effective and increasingly accessible to Canadian women. These options are now recommended as first-line contraceptive options for women by organizations such as the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) and the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS). Despite this, there is low uptake of LARCs and the primary forms of contraception utilized by Canadians remain those with the lowest efficacy rates: the oral contraceptive pill, condoms, and withdrawal. This trend is especially common among youth, who are viewed as being at higher risk of unplanned pregnancy.
How risk is conceptualized in the context of contraception, by youth and their care-providers, and the extent to which risk assessment impacts contraceptive choice among youth has yet to be fully explored. This paper draws on qualitative interviews and participant observation conducted with clients (18-24 yrs) and healthcare providers at a teen clinic in downtown Winnipeg Manitoba to understand the role of risk perception and assessment in navigating reproductive choices. Emergent themes from this research include the impact of peer networks on risk perception and contraceptive choice and differential authority placed on statistical knowledge versus experiential knowledge between youth and healthcare providers. Additionally, the risk of immediate risk arose as a theme among both healthcare providers and youth, however youth remain additionally concerned with how reproductive choices in the present may impact their long-term reproductive health, as they approach reproductive choices as a life-long iterative journey.