Postpartum family planning services should be a top reproductive health priority

December 11, 2015, Population and Development Review

Approximately one-quarter of inter-birth intervals in low- and middle-income countries are less than 24 months in length, exposing infants to risks of prematurity, low birthweight, and death. Increased evidence of these health risks has emerged in the past few decades and, after a period of neglect, interest in postpartum family planning has followed, supported by organizations like WHO and USAID.

How successful have interventions and projects to improve postpartum uptake been? A new study published in Studies in Family Planning as part of the December special issue "Postpartum and Post-Abortion Contraception: From Research to Programs" analyzes data from 35 studies (19 of which were not included in earlier reviews) to address this important question, and identifies program implications and future research priorities.

Key findings include that counseling before discharge from a maternity unit likely has an impact on subsequent contraceptive use and that the integration of into immunization and pediatric services is justified (despite few programs offering these services).

The case can also be made for relaxing the strict conditions for LAM (the Lactational Amenorrhea Method based on the premise that breastfeeding interferes with the release of the hormones needed to trigger ovulation) to be considered an effective postpartum contraceptive method.

The authors note: "In view of the findings, the ideal strategy is to incorporate contraceptive advice and services across the continuum of reproductive healthcare." Four types of interventions are analyzed—antenatal, postnatal, combined ante- and postnatal, and integration with other services—and a range of countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are included.

Explore further: Attention to postpartum contraception needed

More information: John Cleland et al. Interventions to Improve Postpartum Family Planning in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Program Implications and Research Priorities, Studies in Family Planning (2015). DOI: 10.1111/j.1728-4465.2015.00041.x

Related Stories

Attention to postpartum contraception needed

April 2, 2014
(HealthDay)—Women in the postpartum period should receive counseling and access to contraceptive methods to promote optimal birth spacing, according to research published in the April issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics ...

Put birth control in place right after childbirth

July 26, 2016
(HealthDay)—Obstetrician-gynecologists should counsel pregnant women about use of long-acting reversible contraception, such as implants and IUDs, immediately after they give birth, a leading group of U.S. doctors says.

Free postpartum contraception optimizes pregnancy intervals

July 17, 2013
(HealthDay)—Providing postpartum contraception to low-income women through publicly-funded programs helps avoid short pregnancy intervals, according to research published online July 8 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

ACOG provides guidance on optimizing postpartum care

May 27, 2016
(HealthDay)—To optimize postpartum care, anticipatory guidance should be implemented during pregnancy, according to a Committee Opinion published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Research evaluates risk factors for postpartum depression in mothers of preterm infants

September 13, 2016
Postpartum depression is the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth, affecting up to 15 percent of all women within the first three months following delivery. Research has shown that mothers of infants born ...

Immediate birth control implant more cost-effective

June 9, 2015
Women who have just given birth are often motivated to prevent a rapid, repeat pregnancy. For those who prefer a contraceptive implant, getting the procedure in the hospital immediately after giving birth is more cost-effective ...

Recommended for you

Juul e-cigarettes pose addiction risk for young users, study finds

October 19, 2018
Teens and young adults who use Juul brand e-cigarettes are failing to recognize the product's addictive potential, despite using it more often than their peers who smoke conventional cigarettes, according to a new study by ...

Adding refined fiber to processed food could have negative health effects

October 19, 2018
Adding highly refined fiber to processed foods could have negative effects on human health, such as promoting liver cancer, according to a new study by researchers at Georgia State University and the University of Toledo.

Self-lubricating latex could boost condom use: study

October 17, 2018
A perpetually unctuous, self-lubricating latex developed by a team of scientists in Boston could boost the use of condoms, they reported Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

How healthy will we be in 2040?

October 17, 2018
A new scientific study of forecasts and alternative scenarios for life expectancy and major causes of death in 2040 shows all countries are likely to experience at least a slight increase in lifespans. In contrast, one scenario ...

Adequate consumption of 'longevity' vitamins could prolong healthy aging, nutrition scientist says

October 16, 2018
A detailed new review of nutritional science argues that most American diets are deficient in a key class of vitamins and minerals that play previously unrecognized roles in promoting longevity and in staving off chronic ...

Study finds evidence of intergenerational transmission of trauma among ex-POWs from the Civil War

October 16, 2018
A trio of researchers affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research has found evidence that suggests men who were traumatized while POWs during the U.S. Civil War transmitted that trauma to their offspring—many ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.