The Influence of Unintended Pregnancy on Postpartum Contraceptive Desires

Abigail R. A. Aiken, University of Texas at Austin

Little is known about the relationship between unintended pregnancy and subsequent contraceptive desires and use. Using a sample of 551 postpartum women aged 18-44 residing in Austin and El Paso, Texas, we compared pre-pregnancy and postpartum contraceptive use between women who became pregnant while using a method and those who stopped use to become pregnant. We also investigated the influence getting pregnant while using contraception on postpartum contraceptive desires. We found that the distribution of methods being used both before conception at and at 6 months postpartum was no different between women who got pregnant while using contraception and women who stopped use to become pregnant. Yet becoming pregnant while using contraception was associated with increased odds of desiring sterilization (OR=2.40, p<0.05) even when controlling for parity and other factors. Women who have had an unintended pregnancy may desire sterilization because of repeated negative experiences with less effective methods.

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Presented in Poster Session 7: Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, and Reproductive Health