269229 Prior family planning experiences of obese women seeking abortion care

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Natalie Ingraham, MPH , Social and Behavior Sciences, School of Nursing, University of California- San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Tracy A. Weitz, PhD, MPA , Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), University of California, San Francisco, Oakland, CA
Previous studies have shown that overweight and obese women avoid seeking healthcare due to weight stigma or shame, often based on negative treatment by healthcare providers. This study examined how weight impacts reproductive healthcare and family planning by studying the experiences of obese women seeking abortion care. Methods: 651 women were surveyed at 5 abortion care facilities across the country using self-administered iPad surveys. A sub-sample of 124 obese women (BMI over 30 kg/m2) completed a survey about prior experiences with family planning (FP). Subjects also completed the Weight Bias Internalization Scale. Findings: Contrary to expectations, few women reported healthcare avoidance or poor treatment by facility staff at prior clinical encounters. However, over half of the women did report difficulty with one or more items of medical equipment and almost 10% reported their clinic seemed unprepared to handle heavy women. Obese and non-obese women were compared based on their attitudes about the appropriateness of weight loss discussions during FP visits. Results of the self stigma scale provide insight into the lived experiences of obese women of reproductive age. Conclusions: Although few of the women in this sub-sample reported healthcare avoidance due to weight, the fact that over half the women experienced some difficultly with an aspect of FP care points to a gap in the quality of care. Also, providers need to understand how obese women feel about weight loss advice as part of the FP clinical encounter and the role that self-stigma plays in obese women's lives.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the potential impact of weight stigma on the access and care of family planning services for obese women. Compare the feelings of obese and non-obese women on their attitudes towards weight loss, body image and family planning visits.

Keywords: Family Planning, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract author on the content because I have engaged in data analysis and presentation preparation for this meeting.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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