Reprod Health. 2017 Jun 15;14(1):73. doi: 10.1186/s12978-017-0331-4.

Evaluation of two intervention models on contraceptive attitudes and behaviors among nulliparous women in Shanghai, China: a clustered randomized controlled trial

He Y, Zhang N, Wang J, He N, Du Y, Ding JX, Zhang Y, Li XT, Huang J and Hua KQ


Background: With increasing acceptance of premarital sex among young Chinese women, the rates of unintended pregnancies and induced abortions are becoming alarmingly high, suggesting the needs of educating women with adequate contraceptive knowledge and providing them with accessible contraceptive services. Previous studies have shown that knowledge and attitudes towards contraception could be modified through intervention strategies. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of two community intervention models on modifying contraceptive attitudes and behaviors among nulliparous women.

Methods: In this clustered randomized controlled trial, nulliparous women aged 18-40 years from 18 communities were enrolled and randomized to either the traditional community intervention model (TC model) or the more comprehensive new community-based intervention model (NC model) with a ratio of 1:2. Contraceptive attitudes and behaviors were assessed before and after the interventions.

Results: A total of 901 nulliparous women were followed. The most common contraceptive method in both groups was condom (approximately 80%) before or after interventions. The rates of using effective contraceptive methods were very low (<5%) even after the intervention. Comparing the NC with TC group, the adjusted ORs and 95% CIs regarding natural family planning, emergency contraceptive usage and short-acting OCPs were1.53 (95% CI: 1.11-2.13), 2.87 (95% CI: 2.05-4.02), and 2.71 (95% CI: 1.65-4.47), respectively; while the ORs and 95%CIs of gynecological examination and contraceptive use were 2.31 (95% CI: 1.63-3.27) and 2.89 (95% CI: 1.98-4.23), respectively. No statistical significant difference was found for the use of effective contraceptive methods at post-intervention among the two models.

Conclusion: High proportions of nulliparous women held negative attitudes and behaviors towards effective contraceptive methods. The NC model, integrating existing health resources, had more positive influence than the TC model on the favorable contraceptive attitudes and behaviors towards the use of any contraceptive methods, but had limited impact on the use of effective contraceptive methods. Our study suggested the feasibility of applying the NC model in Shanghai. Interventions on contraceptive attitudes and behaviors should base on the existing health service system, synthesize resources and selectively apply to populations with distinct characteristics.

Comment: This study on educating women about effective contraception showed how that education and information can be much more effective if it is not standardized, but if the information includes the specific circumstances of the women's environment: availability of clinics, products, language, health systems, etc. Health care workers should be aware of those. (HMV)