Although Women’s History Month is over, there is no question that they have made big strides in making a difference as far as their careers or workplace is concerned.

College enrollment rates for Hispanic and Latina women aged 18-24 have increased by 15% from 2000 to 2018 while the number of Hispanic and Latina women in the US labor force is expected to spike as well from 7.5% to 9.2% from 2018 to 2028.

And while women are carving their niche in these respective genres, it remains that they still need to be fully aware of their health, particularly reproductive health.

Dr. Erica Montes, a board-certified OB/GYN and founder of The Modern Mujer Health Blog, recently sat down with this writer in an exclusive interview and explained why it is important that women need to be open and address reproductive health, particularly when it comes to family planning and pregnancies.

“The rates of unplanned pregnancies are still high. We are seeing that over the last 40 years, women in general, but especially Latinas are making significant gains in their education and work gains. So with that being said, we definitely want to have more control of being able to plan for their future, being able to plan for their families. Right now, it’s very common that women wanting to talk about contraception and seeking out that conversation with their physician or healthcare provider,” Montes stated.

Montes also shed light on how and why it is important for women to openly communicate with a physician or provider whom they are comfortable with and trust.

“I think the way for women to know, to start that conversation is important to make sure that you are seeing a provider or a doctor that you trust or someone you feel comfortable with where you can have an open and honest dialogue with. And to know that all questions are welcome. There is no question we would not want to answer that may help you make a decision based on what the options that will be best for you,” she quipped.

In the interview, Montes also explained the importance of culture and how COVID has led to possibly more unexpected pregnancies.

“Especially with Latina’s you kind of grow up in a society or a culture where to talk about sex and birth control, these women haven’t heard of these things so when they are thinking about their own, sometimes you can think from when they were young and their parents say don’t talk about sex, don’t talk about birth control – that’s bad. These are misconceptions in their head, their minds. I think that they kind of take that into account especially when they grow old. In reality, what we really want is to bring that up,” Montes explained.

And while COVID-19 is used as an excuse by most for not seeing their physician, Montes illustrated how the pandemic has brought forth new technology through the use of telemedicine. This new avenue has allowed patients to use a different channel to address reproduction health concerns.

“I think with COVID too, there have been more unplanned pregnancies because of the fact that women were not going to their doctors and they did not have a way or the ability to make an appointment,” Montes stated.

“COVID has actually changed medicine, we are doing more appointments on telemedicine, even a contraceptive counselling appointment can be done on telemedicine. So there is really not a reason not to speak to your physician or your provider,” she added.

doctor-563428_1920 This is a representational image. Pixabay