The majority of safety profile data on current contraceptive options were studied on young, healthy women without significant medical co-morbidities. However many women of reproductive age have important medical conditions, in which certain contraceptive options may have increased risk and side effects. Therefore extrapolating the risk profile of contraceptive options from healthy women to women with coexisting medical conditioning is potentially dangerous. More importantly, pregnancy, especially unintended pregnancy, among women with certain medical conditions increased both maternal and fetal health risk, thereby increasing the importance of reliable, safe contraception.
The Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (MEC) by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control was created to help bridge the gap in contraceptive care in women with certain medical conditions. It provides guidance for healthcare providers to help choose the safest, most reliable form of contraception for their patients. The MEC document categorizes medical eligibility for contraceptive use into categories based upon risk. The purpose of this article is to review the evidence behind these recommendations and review new information published since release of the MEC.