Properly timing subsequent pregnancies is important for both mothers and babies. It’s often accomplished with postpartum contraception, which may be out of reach for low-income women. A recent study in Obstetrics & Gynecology looked at how prescription of postpartum contraception through publicly funded programs affects the interval between pregnancies.
The study looked at California’s 2008 Birth Statistical Master File to build a cohort of 117,644 women between the ages of 15 and 44 who had used publicly funded health services and given birth in 2008. Only 41% of the cohort made a contraceptive claim in the 90 days after delivery. The study found that receiving contraception during those first 90 days—along with care from California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, and the program’s family planning expansion division—was significantly associated with longer pregnancy intervals. Women who received contraception on their first clinic visit were also less likely to have shorter pregnancy intervals, independent of other variables.
The study found that foreign-born women had 47% higher odds of avoiding suboptimal pregnancy intervals than their US-born counterparts. However women who were of Asian and Pacific Islander ethnicity were more likely to have short pregnancy intervals than were white women.
The study’s authors concluded that providing postpartum contraception through publicly funded programs could have an impact on pregnancy intervals in low-income women.
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