Education for contraceptive use by women after childbirth.

J. E. Hiller, E. Griffith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Postpartum education on contraceptive use is a routine component of discharge planning in many different countries with a wide variety of health care systems. This education is based on assumptions concerning women's receptivity to contraceptive education during the postpartum period and their presumed lack of access to such education after that time. The objective of this review is to assess the effects of education about contraceptive use to postpartum mothers. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Psychlit, Popline, citations indexes and reference lists of relevant articles. We contacted subject experts to locate additional research, in addition to the Group's Specialised Register of Controlled Trials. Date of the most recent search: April 1999. SELECTION CRITERIA: Trials using random or quasi-random methods of allocation which evaluated the effectiveness of postpartum education about contraceptive use. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two independent reviewers abstracted data on trial characteristics and results. MAIN RESULTS: Three trials were identified with 5438 women. These trials were conducted in Lebanon, Peru and Nepal. None of the trials examined all major prespecified endpoints. Postpartum education about contraceptive use influenced short-term use assessed between 40 days and three months post-partum. Women in the intervention groups were less likely to be non-users than women in the comparison groups (Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.47, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.39 to 0.58). This benefit was not apparent following analysis of data from better quality studies (OR = 0.67, 95% CI 0.41 to 1.13). An apparent benefit on contraceptive use at six months post-partum (OR = 0.52, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.74) was not apparent following sensitivity analyses (OR = 0.59, 95% CI 0.33 to 1.06). Data are inadequate to assess the impact on cessation of breast feeding and non-attendance at family planning clinics. Unplanned pregnancies, knowledge about contraception and satisfaction with care were not assessed in any trial. REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: The effectiveness of postpartum education about contraceptive use has not yet been established in randomised controlled trials. Such education may be effective in increasing the short-term use of contraception. However, there are only limited data examining a more-important longer-term effect on the prevention of unplanned pregnancies. Research needs to be undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the minimalist education provided in more developed countries and the variety of programs provided in less developed regions. Such research should examine the content, timing, range and organisation of postpartum education on contraceptive use, as well as its impact on breast feeding rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)CD001863
JournalCochrane database of systematic reviews (Online)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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