The Pill works as well for full-figured women as it does for waifs - if taken consistently.

That's the findings of a study by New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center researchers that appears to refute a long-held belief by many doctors that birth control pills aren't as reliable for overweight women.

"Weight does not seem to have an impact on suppression of ovulation, but consistency of pill-taking does," chief investigator Dr. Carolyn Westhoff said. Nearly 65% of U.S. women are overweight or obese, according to U.S. government.

And for those women, pregnancy poses extra risks. Previous studies on the pills' effectiveness relied on womens' recollections of how much they weighed when the pill failed. This time, groups of normal and overweight women were randomly assigned to take either a lower- or higher-dose version of the pill.

Then after three or four months, the women were given multiple ultrasounds and blood tests to determine if ovulation was being suppressed.

Of the 150 women who used the pill consistently, just three of the 96 women with normal weight ovulated. Of the 54 obese women, just one did.

Researchers also reported that when women failed to take the pill regularly, they ovulated with greater frequency.


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