Matern Child Health J. 2016 Jul 30.

Postpartum contraception and interpregnancy intervals among adolescent mothers accessing public services in California

Isquick S, Chang R, Thiel de Bocanegra H, Chabot M and Brindis CD


Objective: To determine the association of age at index birth with postpartum contraceptive use and optimal interpregnancy interval (IPI, defined as delivery to next pregnancy >18 months), controlling for provider type and client demographics among adolescent mothers who have repeat pregnancies.

Methods: California's 2008 birth records were linked to California's Medi-Cal and Family PACT claims data to identify 26,393 women with repeat births between 2002 and 2008, whose index birth occurred as an adolescent, and who received publicly-funded services within 18 months after the index birth. Multivariable regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between timing of contraception provision and interpregnancy intervals, adjusting for socio-demographic factors.

Results:Seventy-eight percent of adolescent women did not receive contraception at their first postpartum visit, and twenty-eight percent of adolescent women never received contraception from a Family PACT or Medi-Cal provider. Adolescents who were older at their index birth had lower rates of optimal IPIs. Native American, Asian-Pacific Islander and Latina women had lower rates of optimal IPIs compared to white women. Compared to those using only barrier methods, adolescent women receiving highly effective contraceptive methods had a 4.25 times higher odds of having an optimal IPI than those receiving hormonal methods (OR 2.10), or using no method (OR 0.70).

Conclusion: Effective postpartum contraceptive use and being a Family PACT provider were associated with optimal birth spacing among adolescent mothers, yet racial and ethnic disparities persisted. A missed opportunity was the provision of contraception at the first postpartum visit. Providers should aim to remove barriers to initiation of contraception at this visit.

Comment: The most important take-away-message of this paper is, that it is crucial to discuss and provide contraception at the earliest possible moment after delivery, especially in adolescent mothers. (HMV)