Study calls for more focus on women's choices of postabortion contraceptives

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

woman describing contraceptive methods

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all women be offered a method of contraception on the day of their abortion. Ipas and other rights-based programs also strive to ensure that women’s decisions about contraceptives are fully informed and that women are offered a full range of methods.

A recent study in Bangladesh, focusing on short-acting contraceptive methods offered on the day of a woman’s abortion, indicates that service delivery factors—such as the type of abortion procedure and type of facility where a woman receives her abortion—can significantly influence whether these goals are achieved.

“Our findings suggest that postabortion contraceptive uptake is being driven by health system conditions, rather than by women’s decisions about which methods to use. There needs to be more of a focus on women’s choice,” says Erin Pearson, lead author of the study and a senior researcher at Ipas.

Looking at data from a sample of 470 Bangladeshi women who did not intend to become pregnant in the four months following their uterine evacuation, the study found that “the likelihood that a woman chose a specific type of short-acting method varied according to the type of uterine evacuation she had had, the facility level and the governmental or nongovernmental entity that managed the facility.”

Providers need additional training on postabortion contraception and health systems need to have a full range of contraceptive services and information available, says Pearson.

This study is part of a body of Ipas research aimed at gathering evidence on how to better serve the contraceptive needs of women and adolescent girls seeking abortion. While previous research by Ipas and others has focused on postabortion contraceptive uptake in the one-to-three month period following an abortion, this study focused solely on uptake on the day of the abortion, which Pearson says is “is more biologically relevant since fertility can return within a week of an abortion.”

Read the full study

Ipas research generates new knowledge for the larger reproductive health and rights community. We also focus on targeted research to understand more about women’s needs and wants regarding reproductive health care and how they make decisions about contraception and abortion.