The Purpose of Using Birth Control

Although people may choose to use contraception for a variety of reasons, the purpose of birth control remains the same. Contraception allows you to prevent pregnancy. The use of contraception helps you to determine how many children you may want to have as well as the timing of your pregnancies.

woman holding contraceptive solutions
AndreyCherkasov / Getty Images

Since most birth control methods are made for women (with the exception of condoms and a vasectomy), it is very common for women to use contraception based on where they are in their lives.

Pregnancy Prevention

The use of contraception can significantly lower your chances of becoming pregnant. In the United States, about 50% of all pregnancies are not planned. Of these unintended pregnancies, about 42% end in abortion. It is estimated that one-third of American women will have had an abortion by the time they are 45 years old.

Women who do not use any contraception and who are sexually active for one year have an 85% chance of becoming pregnant sometime during that year. Variables such as age and frequency of sex could affect this number.

Choices for Birth Control

But this is a day and age where there are many birth control options available. These options are typically grouped under the following categories:

People choose to use contraception for many reasons. Choosing the birth control method that is right for you is a personal decision and should be an informed one. This means that you should do your research and compare your birth control options before you start to use contraception.

When you choose a method that you comfortable with, you'll be more likely to use it.

Reasons for Using Contraception

There is no "right" reason to use contraception. Even though the purpose of birth control is to prevent pregnancy, many women choose to use contraception because of certain health advantages.

For example, some hormonal birth control methods may help regulate your period, reduce acne, and/or lower endometriosis-related pain. Some types of birth control can even lower your risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.

That being said, other reasons to use contraception include:

  • You may have decided that you don’t want to have children or would love them, but just not now.
  • You want to have more control over your life.
  • You may choose to use contraception to help space the timing of the births of your children.
  • You may not have a stable partner to help in parenting a child.
  • You feel that, at this time in your life, you are not able to take on the financial responsibilities of having a baby.
  • You may be feeling like your family is complete, so you want to make sure that you don't become pregnant again.
  • You do not feel ready to be a parent or feel that you are too young.
  • You want to focus on caring for the children you already have.
  • For health-related reasons, it may not be safe for you to have a baby.

Think for a moment about your own life. If the purpose of birth control is to prevent you from becoming pregnant, then the use of contraception has far-reaching implications. In fact, using contraception to prevent pregnancy can allow women:

  • To have a career either by being able to get a job or keep one
  • To better financially support themselves and/or their family
  • To stay in school and/or finish their education
  • To take better care of themselves and/or their family
  • To have more stability and control over their lives (by waiting for the best time to become pregnant)

A Word From Verywell

People use contraception for their own, individual reasons—reasons that take into account the purpose of birth control specifically in your life as well as your sexual, moral/religious, reproductive, and financial needs.

If you feel that having a baby right now would get in the way of your goals or is something you are not ready for, then the use of contraception may be very important to you.

You may choose one birth control method over another depending on where you are in your life. For example, you may want a more effective method if you really don't want to become pregnant.

It is very common for women to use contraception so they can put off having children until their lives are more stable, established, and financially secure. The quality of your relationship with your partner (or not having a reliable partner) can also impact your decision to use contraception.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Guttmacher Institute. Unintended pregnancy in the United States.

  2. AidAccess. How can you prevent a future unwanted pregnancy?

  3. Cooper DB, Adigun R, Mahdy H. Oral contraceptive pills. StatPearls Publishing.

Additional Reading

By Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC
Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC, is a published author, college professor, and mental health consultant with over 15 years of counseling experience.