Patients with hematologic disorders need careful birth control counseling

Contracept Technol Update. 1985 Mar;6(3):43-6.


PIP: Caution is called for in providing family planning counseling and contraceptive prescriptions for women with hematological disorders. Iron deficiency anemia is a common problem among women of reproductive age. During menstruation women's need for iron intake is 3 times that of men. Oral contraceptives (OCs) are an appropriate contraceptive choice for iron deficiency anemia patients since OCs are associated with reduced blood loss during menstruation. Most IUDs, and especially unmedicated and copper bearing devices, should not be used by women with iron deficiency anemia. Progestin releasing IUDs tend to increase hemoglobin and serum ferritin levels, therefore, patients with iron deficiency anemia may benefit from progestin releasing IUD insertions. Women with hemorrhagic disorders, such as hemophilia, purpuras, and platelet number and function disorders frequently experience menorrhagia. OCs are an appropriate contraceptive for many patients with these disorders. Several studies indicate that patients with hemorrhagic disorders frequently experience reduced bleeding problems when they use OCs. IUDs are contraindicated for women with hemorrhagic diseases because IUDs may increase blood loss. Women with sickle cell hemoglobinopathies need careful counseling. Pregnancy for these women entails high morbidity and mortality risks. Series data shows that pregnant women with sickle cell hemoglobinopathies have a 4%-100% risk of maternal morbidity and a 1%-35% risk of maternal mortality. The risk of maternal morbidity and mortality is equally high for women with hemoglogin sickle cell disease but somewhat lower for women with sickle cell thalassemia. Women with these diseases should be informed about the risks associated with pregnancy. These patients may want to consider sterilization. Oral and IUD contraceptives are contraindicated for patients with these disorders; the former, because it may have a thromboembolic effect, and the latter, because it is associated with high blood loss. There are some reports that progesterone protects against sickling, but more intensive studies must be undertaken before progesterone can be recommended for women with sickle cess disorders. If patients insist on using an OC, a minipill may be prescribed. Barrier methods are probably the best choice for sickle cell disorder patients.

MeSH terms

  • Biology
  • Blood*
  • Contraception*
  • Contraceptive Agents
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female*
  • Contraceptives, Oral*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined*
  • Corpus Luteum Hormones
  • Disease*
  • Family Planning Services
  • Hemoglobins*
  • Hormones
  • Intrauterine Devices*
  • Physiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications
  • Progesterone
  • Reproduction
  • Women*


  • Contraceptive Agents
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined
  • Corpus Luteum Hormones
  • Hemoglobins
  • Hormones
  • Progesterone