Erica P. Cahill, MD, MS(c), is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Complex Family Planning at Stanford University. She is the Co-Director of the Medical Students Reproductive Health Block, the Assistant Fellowship Director for the Fellowship in Complex Family Planning and the Ryan Program Director for the Stanford Ob-Gyn Residency. She is also the Director of the Complex Family Planning Section in Gynecology.

She graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Neuroscience and Behavior. After college, she worked at Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Mental Health on clinical trials involving neuroendocrine disorders during pregnancy and menopause. She subsequently earned her MD from The University of Vermont and completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at The George Washington University Hospital. She completed a Fellowship in Complex Family Planning and a Masters in Epidemiology here at Stanford.

Her research interests include addressing health disparities in perinatal and reproductive health through education and technology, including AntiRacism reproductive health work, trauma-informed care education, and increasing access to safe abortion care. She is committed to creating and supporting medically accurate reproductive policy. She enjoys teaching residents, medical students, and undergraduates as part of her practice. She has previously co-hosted a reproductive health podcast called The V Word and is active on social media as @drericacahill.

Clinical Focus

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Complex Family Planning
  • Preconception Care
  • LGBTQ plus Reproductive Care
  • Menopause Transition Care
  • Sexual Health Care
  • Trauma Informed Care

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Assistant Program Director, Stanford OB-GYN Clerkship Rotation (2022 - Present)
  • Block Director, Reproductive Health Block, Stanford School of Medicine (2020 - Present)
  • Assistant Fellowship Director, Fellowship in Complex Family Planning (2020 - Present)
  • Ryan Program Director, Stanford University (2020 - Present)
  • Gynecology Rotation Director, Stanford Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology (2020 - Present)
  • Complex Family Planning Elective, Stanford Gynecology (2021 - Present)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, District IX Committee for Underserved Women (starting 2021), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2013 - Present)
  • Member, Education Committee, Society of Family Planning (SFP) (2016 - Present)
  • Member, American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) (2018 - Present)
  • Fellow, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) (2020 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Board Certification: American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Obstetrics and Gynecology (2020)
  • MS, Stanford University, Clinical Epidemiology (2019)
  • Fellowship: Stanford University Family Planning Fellowship (2019) CA
  • Residency: George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (2017) DC
  • Medical Education: University of Vermont College of Medicine (2013) VT

Community and International Work

  • Reproductive Health Education with Loom

    Partnering Organization(s)




    Ongoing Project


    Opportunities for Student Involvement


Research Interests

  • Assessment, Testing and Measurement
  • Gender Issues
  • Parents and Family Issues
  • Poverty and Inequality
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Science Education

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

reproductive and sexual health care and education

Graduate and Fellowship Programs

All Publications

  • Potential candidate for oral pericoital contraception: evaluating ulipristal acetate plus cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitor for ovulation disruption. BMJ sexual & reproductive health Cahill, E. P., Lerma, K., Shaw, K. A., Blumenthal, P. D. 2022


    BACKGROUND: There remains considerable global unmet contraceptive need, with almost 200million women reporting desire to limit or space childbearing without contraceptive use. Researchers have documented worldwide interest in an oral, on-demand contraceptive option were it available. Candidates for use include ulipristal acetate (UA), levonorgestrel and cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors alone or in combination.METHODS: We performed an exploratory, prospective study of matched menstrual cycles: one baseline cycle and one treatment cycle of UA 30mg plus meloxicam 30mg just prior to ovulation. The primary outcome was ovulation disruption, defined as unruptured dominant follicle for 5days. Secondary outcomes included comparing cycle length, endometrial stripe thickness, and side effects.RESULTS: Nine participants completed all study procedures in both cycles. Ovulatory disruption occurred in 66.7% (n=6) of treatment cycles and all but one demonstrated features of ovulatory dysfunction. Cycle length (mean±SD) was longer in the treatment cycle (31.9±4.0 vs 28.6±3.5 days, p<0.01). Secondary outcomes did not differ between the two cycles.CONCLUSIONS: UA plus the COX-2 inhibitor meloxicam disrupts ovulation at peak luteal surge and is a promising candidate for evaluation as a pericoital oral contraceptive.TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT03354117.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/bmjsrh-2021-201446

    View details for PubMedID 35470225

  • Trauma-informed abortion care. Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology Cahill, E. P., Doyle, A. 2021; 33 (6): 453-457


    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: People seeking reproductive care experience trauma on many levels including personal, structural, in medical care, and in barriers to care. This article reviews key aspects of a Trauma-Informed Care approach in abortion and reproductive healthcare.RECENT FINDINGS: Experiences of trauma are common and compounding, including systemic trauma, such as racism, sexism, and transphobia. Reproductive healthcare itself traumatizes and re-traumatizes. Trauma Informed Care (TIC) approach to individual abortion care includes maximize patient safety, choice, and privacy. TIC approach to systemic abortion care includes dismantling barriers to care and stigma.SUMMARY: The experience of trauma is prevalent, often unrecognized and can be multifactorial, especially for those seeking abortion and contraception care. Reproductive care can create situations or power dynamics that reactivate a trauma experience. History of trauma influences a person's health, relationships, experience, and use of reproductive healthcare, as well as trust in reproductive health recommendations. Laws restricting access to abortion and reproductive health add another layer of trauma and disproportionately affect marginalized groups. Guidelines for Trauma Informed Abortion Care recognize the complexity of trauma in reproductive health experiences and seek to promote safety, empowerment, and healing on individual and systemic levels.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/GCO.0000000000000749

    View details for PubMedID 34747881

  • Socioeconomic Differences Persist in Use of Permanent versus Long-Acting Reversible Contraception: An Analysis of the National Survey for Family Growth, 2006-2010 versus 2015-2017. Contraception Beshar, I., So, J., Chelvakumar, M., Cahill, E. P., Shaw, K. A., Shaw, J. G. 2020


    OBJECTIVE: Permanent contraception has historically been more prevalent among non-White women with lower education and income. Given increasing popularity of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), we examine changing sociodemographic patterns of permanent contraception and LARC.STUDY DESIGN: We performed a descriptive analysis of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) from 2006-2017, with multivariable analyses of the 2006-2010 and 2015-2017 cohorts. Using multinomial logistic regression, we investigate predictors of contraceptive category (permanent contraception versus LARC, lower-efficacy contraception versus LARC) in reproductive-aged women.RESULTS: 8,161 respondents were included in two distinct but analogous regression analyses: 1) the most recent survey cohort, 2015-2017, and 2) the cohort a decade prior, 2006-2010. Over this period, the prevalence of LARC increased nearly three-fold (6.2% to 16.7%), while permanent contraception use trended downwards (22% to 18.6%). Yet, in adjusted models, we observed little change in the sociodemographic predictors of permanent contraception: from the early to recent cohort, use of permanent contraception (versus LARC) remained less likely among college graduates (multinomial odds ratio (OR) 0.45[95% CI 0.21, 0.97]) and Hispanic women (OR 0.41[0.21, 0.82]). In addition, high income (>$74,999) and metropolitan residence came to predict less use (OR 0.33[0.13, 0.84] and 0.47[0.23, 0.97]). Multiparity, advanced age (over ≥35), and marital status remained strong predictors of permanent contraception.CONCLUSION: Although use of LARC nearly equals that of permanent contraception in the most recent NSFG survey, socioeconomic differences persist. Continued effort is needed to detect and address structural barriers to accessing the most effective forms of contraception for women.IMPLICATIONS: Comparing 2006-2010 to 2015-2017, reliance on female permanent contraception decreased while LARC use increased, making prevalence more similar. However, significant socioeconomic differences persist in who chooses permanent contraception, with urban, educated, higher-income women more likely to use LARC. Ongoing efforts are needed to understand and reduce economic barriers to LARC.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.contraception.2020.12.008

    View details for PubMedID 33359509

  • Advances in contraception research and development. Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology Cahill, E. P., Kaur, S. 2020


    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: In the past few years, there have been great advances in contraceptive technology and development. Here we review advances in contraception over the past two years including new medications, and technologies.RECENT FINDINGS: Contraception must be discussed within the context of individual goals and context. New contraceptive options approved by the FDA in the past two years include a year-long vaginal ring, a progestin-only pill that is as effective as combined oral contraceptive pills, a new hormonal patch and a vaginal gel that may also help prevent sexually transmitted infections.There are still areas of contraceptive research that are very much unknown including biomarkers of contraceptive efficacy or side effects, how individuals or groups metabolize contraception, initiation around reproductive life events or the discontinuation of other methods.SUMMARY: There have been many new contraceptives developed over the past few years to address challenges of existing contraception and create new methods; yet, there remain many unanswered questions in contraceptive research. Contraceptive technology has far-reaching consequences, and independent of technology itself, represents a great opportunity for truly personalized medicine.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/GCO.0000000000000666

    View details for PubMedID 32969852

  • Sociodemographic Trends in Long Acting Reversible Contraception vs. Female Sterilization, 2006-2017 Beshar, I. B., Chelvakumar, M., So, J., Cahill, E. P., Shaw, K. A., Shaw, J. G. LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS. 2020: 100S
  • Self-managed abortion. Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology Conti, J., Cahill, E. P. 2019; 31 (6): 435–40


    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review the current state of self-managed or self-induced abortion in the United States and the emerging legal, political, and research questions surrounding this issue.RECENT FINDINGS: With the exponential rise of restrictive antiabortion laws in the United States, it has become increasingly difficult to access safe and legal abortion services. One response to this hostile environment for reproductive care access is an increased interest in methods of self-induced or self-managed abortions, primarily by medications sourced outside the medical setting. Medication abortion is established as a safe and effective method of ending a pregnancy. Compared with clinic-based care, the two most pressing concerns regarding the safety of self-managed abortion are that people seeking abortion will incorrectly self-identifying as appropriate candidates and that they will not know or be able to access medical care if needed. There is therefore an increasing need for medical providers to learn about and researchers to evaluate the incidence, safety and efficacy of self-management of abortion. Simultaneously, reproductive law experts must continue to develop and educate on the legal frameworks to protect and decriminalize people seeking self-managed abortion as well as their care providers.SUMMARY: Emerging research suggests that abortion outside the medical setting, or self-managed abortion, is an overall safe and effective way to end a pregnancy. However, significant legal barriers and stigma remain. The safest environment for self-managed abortion (SMA) is one where accurate information is available, medical care is accessible when needed, and all methods of abortion remain legal.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/GCO.0000000000000585

    View details for PubMedID 31693568

  • Barriers to Completing Second-trimester Antenatal Screening: A Retrospective Cohort Study Beshar, I., Henkel, A., Cahill, E., Josh, Y., Shaw, K. LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS. 2019: 25S
  • Misoprostol as an Adjunct to Overnight Osmotic Dilators Prior to Second Trimester Dilation and Evacuation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Contraception Cahill, E. P., Henkel, A. n., Shaw, J. G., Shaw, K. A. 2019


    Misoprostol as an Adjunct to Overnight Osmotic Dilators Prior to Second Trimester Dilation and Evacuation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Cahill EP, Henkel AG, Shaw JG, Shaw KA OBJECTIVE: To understand effect of adjunct misoprostol with overnight osmotic dilators for dilation and evacuation for cervical preparation after 16 weeks gestation on procedure time and dilation, complication rate, and side effects.We searched PubMed,, POPLINE, and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register using search terms for second trimester, abortion, misoprostol, dilators and reviewed reference lists of published reports. Randomized controlled trials of cervical preparation for second trimester D&E using overnight osmotic dilators comparing adjunct misoprostol to placebo were included. Weighted mean and standard deviation (SD) and pooled binary outcomes were compared with two sample t-test or chi-square respectively.Among 84 articles identified, three met inclusion criteria of randomized controlled trials comparing adjunct misoprostol to placebo with overnight osmotic dilators prior to second trimester abortion with 457 total subjects at 16-24 weeks gestation (misoprostol n=228; placebo n=229). In the meta-analysis, misoprostol as compared to placebo did not significantly decrease mean procedure times (8.5 + 4.6 vs 9.6 + 5.8 minutes, p=0.78) or need for manual dilation (18% vs 28%, p=0.23). There was no difference in total complications (p=0.61), major complications (hemorrhage, uterine perforation, hospitalization, p=0.44), or cervical lacerations (p=0.87).Current limited evidence suggests that use of adjunctive misoprostol with osmotic dilators after 16 weeks does not affect procedure time or need for manual dilation. Further research is needed to determine if adjunctive misoprostol affects major complications and blood loss.Adjunctive misoprostol does not affect procedure time or need for manual dilation in mid to late second trimester abortion. Further research is needed to determine the effect of adjunctive misoprostol on major complications and blood loss.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.contraception.2019.09.005

    View details for PubMedID 31811840

  • Pericoital contraception. Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology Cahill, E. P., Blumenthal, P. D. 2018; 30 (6): 400–406


    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To evaluate the literature on repeat use of emergency contraception and pericoital approaches to contraception.RECENT FINDINGS: Women are very interested in an oral, on-demand contraceptive option, were one available. Ulipristal acetate and a combination of levonorgestrel (LNG) and meloxicam (a cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitor) both appear to be more effective at disrupting ovulation than LNG alone. Recent advisories from the United Kingdom regarding daily dosing of ulipristal for fibroids emphasize the need for more safety data.SUMMARY: Repeat pericoital dosing of 1.5-mg LNG is approximately as effective as other on-demand contraceptive methods and is overall very safe. The most common side effect is irregular bleeding. Repeat on-demand ulipristal acetate or meloxicam/other cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors have potential as an on-demand option either alone or in combination but have not been evaluated for contraceptive efficacy in a large-scale study. Given the high unmet need for contraception, even among women with access to available options, there is a distinct need for options that address needs of women who are interested in an on-demand option. On-demand oral contraception has the potential to expand the convenience of contraceptive options and overall contraceptive use.

    View details for PubMedID 30399016

  • Pericoital contraception CURRENT OPINION IN OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY Cahill, E. P., Blumenthal, P. D. 2018; 30 (6): 400-406
  • Postpartum intrauterine devices: clinical and programmatic review AMERICAN JOURNAL OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY Goldthwaite, L. M., Cahill, E. P., Voedisch, A. J., Blumenthal, P. D. 2018; 219 (3): 235–41
  • Postpartum intrauterine devices: Clinical and programmatic review. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology Goldthwaite, L. M., Cahill, E. P., Voedisch, A. J., Blumenthal, P. D. 2018


    The immediate postpartum period is a critical moment for contraceptive access and an opportunity to initiate long acting reversible contraception, including insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD). The use of the IUD in the postpartum period is a safe practice with few contraindications and many benefits. While an IUD placed during the postpartum period is more likely to expel compared to one placed at the postpartum visit, women initiating IUDs at the time of delivery are also more likely to continue to use an IUD compared to women planning to follow up for an interval IUD insertion. This review will focus on the most recent clinical and programmatic updates on postpartum IUD practice. We discuss postpartum IUD expulsion and continuation, eligibility criteria and contraindications, safety in regards to breastfeeding, and barriers to access. Our aim is to summarize evidence related to postpartum IUDs and encourage those involved in the health care system to remove barriers to this worthwhile practice.

    View details for PubMedID 30031750

  • Abortion in the media. Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology Conti, J. A., Cahill, E. n. 2017; 29 (6): 427–30


    To review updates in how abortion care is depicted and analysed though various media outlets: news, television, film, and social media.A surge in recent media-related abortion research has recognized several notable and emerging themes: abortion in the news media is often inappropriately sourced and politically motivated; abortion portrayal in US film and television is frequently misrepresented; and social media has a new and significant role in abortion advocacy.The portrayal of abortion onscreen, in the news, and online through social media has a significant impact on cultural, personal, and political beliefs in the United States. This is an emerging field of research with wide spread potential impact across several arenas: medicine, policy, public health.

    View details for PubMedID 28915157