Table 3

Participant quotes

Perceptions of IPIs are shaped by individual circumstances
  • Quote 1a) Interview 12: “It was kind of ‘mini-planned’, so we always wanted a second child, but because of our age – because we’re dinosaurs in the fertility world, we thought we need to hurry up and have a second baby.” [42 years, 9-month IPI]

  • Quote 1b) Interview 5: “I would have liked to have waited another year, but I think it was because I wanted to get back to the workforce, but not leave one child.” [21 years, 8-month IPI]

  • Quote 1c) Interview 20: “I was very tired and it was very difficult to accept it you know.” [34 years, 3-month IPI]

  • Quote 1d) Interview 10: “When I had a C-section [with] my first son I was exclusively breastfeeding. I was not getting periods, and maybe I was ignoring that fact that I could be pregnant.” [27 years, 3-month IPI]

  • Quote 1e) Interview 6: “We were advised about contraception, but we’ve never taken it before, so we thought we’d be fine.” [38 years, 9-month IPI]

  • Quote 1f) Interview 18: “It took about a year to conceive with the other two, so we thought, we’ll get started now, and then it just happened straight away. So yeah I was a bit shocked when it happened, that I found out I was pregnant, as I thought it was going to take at least 6 months.” [34 years, 11-month IPI]

A lack of information from HCPs on IPI and contraception limited women’s ability to make informed decisions
  • Quote 2a) Interview 1: “So just to clarify, so nobody talked to you about the short pregnancy interval?“ “No. No one talked to me about anything”. [40 years, 3-month IPI]

  • Quote 2b) Interview 7: “Yeah definitely about contraception but I don’t think anyone really said anything about how…like any recommendations on waiting a certain amount of time.” “Where did the contraception advice come from?” “Hospital. From the midwife and GP as well.” [28 years, 15-month IPI]

  • Quote 2c) Interview 19: “In the hospital, I think the recommendation was one doctor said give it about 15 months after a caesarean, and then another said 18, and then one of the GPs I saw said 6 months would be fine. So we did get different opinions.” [31 years, 13-month IPI]

  • Quote 2d) Interview 10. “They said [in the hospital] you have to go for a 6-week check-up and they’re going to guide you for further children.” [27 years, 3-month IPI]

  • Quote 2e) Interview 1: “Did your GP chat to you about contraception at your 6-week check for the baby?” “Yeah, yeah he did, yep that’s why I said I was going to go back on the injection, but we were just waiting for the normal period cycle to happen. Yeah, he said to wait for that first.” [40 years, 3-month IPI]

  • Quote 2f) Interview 10: “I didn’t go for a 6-week check-up then. Maybe if I had have gone, I would have been taking something for that, but I was so fully concentrating on my son that I didn’t go for a 6-week check-up.” [27 years, 3-month IPI]

  • Quote 2g) Interview 1: “I was breastfeeding at the time and I didn’t use contraception. I was thinking when you’re breastfeeding, it’s preventing to make you pregnant.” [29 years, 10-month IPI]

  • Quote 2h) Interview 6: “Another thing, in the antenatal classes they did talk about breastfeeding and getting pregnant again. I think they needed more information that when you start weaning that you can fall pregnant more easily; I think that needs to be made clearer.” [38 years, 9-month IPI]

Reproductive life planning is an important element of pregnancy care
  • Quote 3a) Interview 10: “I think there should be one pamphlet or one information pack related to I guess to the spacing between children, so that constantly you have to keep things on your mind that you can fall pregnant.“ [ 27 years, 3-month IPI]

  • Quote 3b) Interview 11: “Maybe GPs have to be more aware. You know when the women go to the GP, it’s better for them to get the information and make them aware.” [29 years, 10-month IPI]

  • Quote 3c) Interview 18: “When do you think would be the best time to receive counselling on birth spacing and contraception? Antenatally or postnatally?” “Gosh it’s probably a bit of both I guess, because postnatally, you’re…focusing on baby, but um gosh, I don’t know for me, it’s probably when I was ready to start again, or like a bit before that … I don’t know when or how you’d do that.” [34 years, 10-month IPI]

  • Quote 3d) Interview 12: “I would go to my local GP and see what she would recommend, [as] if I had to go it my own, I wouldn’t know.” [42 years, 9-month IPI]

  • Quote 3e) Interview 6: “Do you plan on using any contraception after this pregnancy?” ”Um, probably still not. We’re still happy to be pregnant again if that’s the case”. [38 years, 9-month IPI, no previous contraception use]

  • The participant's age and IPI are given for each quote. The interviewer's questions are in roman type.

  • GP, general practitioner; HCP, healthcare provider; IPI, interpregnancy interval.