Article Text

Immediate postnatal contraception: what women know and think


Introduction Postpartum women are at risk of rapid repeat, unplanned pregnancy with associated adverse outcomes for mother and child. We aimed to better understand their contraceptive needs to improve delivery of services and prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Methods A cross-sectional survey of women on the postnatal ward of an inner-city hospital was administered over a 6-week period in June and July 2017 to determine their level of knowledge, intentions and preferences regarding postnatal contraception.

Results 272 women were surveyed: 86% of all women on the postnatal ward during the study period. 10% (26/272) had never used any method of contraception previously and 22% (59/272) had ever used a long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) method. 18% (48/272) recalled a health professional speaking to them about contraception at any point during their pregnancy and 32% (87/272) said they needed more information to decide on their postnatal contraceptive method. 54% (147/272) of women did not think any LARC methods were safe immediately postnatally, rising to 71% (194/272) if breastfeeding. However, 47% (129/272) of women said that they would prefer to get their contraception from the ward before discharge and 46% (126/272) were likely to accept LARC, if safe, in this setting.

Conclusions Almost half the women in our survey would welcome provision of postnatal contraception, including LARC, on the postnatal ward but the women surveyed currently lack the knowledge to make informed choices in this setting. There is therefore a need for effective, tailored contraceptive choices discussions with every woman during pregnancy, as well as integrated planning for postnatal provision of the woman’s chosen method.

  • postnatal
  • postpartum
  • contraception
  • long-acting reversible contraception
  • breastfeeding
  • cross-sectional survey

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles