Contraception and sexual health in obese women

Katharine B. Simmons, Alison B. Edelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


As the proportion of women with obesity increases worldwide, understanding the influence of body weight on sexual behavior, fertility, and contraceptive effectiveness is critical for health-care professionals and patients. Although many have theorized that obese women are different from normal-weight women regarding sexual health and behavior, current evidence for the most part disproves this. The exception is in adolescents where body image may play a role in riskier behavior, placing them at a greater risk of an unintended pregnancy. Given that most modern contraceptives were not originally evaluated in obese women, understanding how weight affects contraceptive pharmacokinetics and efficacy should be a focus of ongoing research. Evidence is reassuring that most modern contraceptive methods are safe and effective in obese women. This paper reviews what is known about sexual and contraceptive behavior, as well as the effectiveness and pharmacokinetics of modern contraceptives, for overweight and obese women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-478
Number of pages13
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • contraception
  • obesity
  • pharmacokinetics
  • sexual behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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