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CU Researchers Working On Safer Birth Control For Larger Women

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – University of Colorado researchers are working to develop a completely new form of birth control that would be safer and more effective for heavier women.

The side effects of bleeding and blood clots from the most commonly used pill are more prevalent in obese women. The pill being studied at CU could eliminate that health risk.

Birth Control Testing
(credit: CBS)

Kiel Butterfield answers questions about her health and twice a week she has her blood drawn. Since early August the 30-year-old has been using an investigational contraceptive.

"There's really no breast tenderness, I don't get any headaches," Butterfield said.

She is helping researchers at CU develop the better birth control pill.

"That doesn't have either estrogen or progesterone in it," Dr. Stefanie Teal said.

Those hormones, found in common contraceptive pills, can cause unscheduled bleeding and blood clotting, which can lead to stroke.

Researchers say the risks go up in women who are overweight.

"American women are getting heavier and heavier, so we're really trying to look for contraceptives that are effective with low side effect profiles and with increased safety," Teal said.

Teal is studying normal-weight women like Butterfield, and heavier ones as well. Ultrasounds are done twice a week.

Dr. Stefanie Teal
CBS4's Kathy Walsh talks with Dr. Stefanie Teal (credit: CBS)

The research clinic is one of 10 participating in the clinical trial.

"I think having more options on the market is always better," Butterfield said.

CU researchers call their results are impressive so far, but it could be up to 8 years before the pill is proven.

To learn more about taking part in the CU contraception study call (303) 724-5284 or email

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