Iran Red Crescent Med J 2013;15(10):e4414

Popular contraceptive methods in women aged 35 years and older attending health centers of 4 cities in Khuzestan province, Iran

Nouhjah S, Amiri E, Khodai A, Yazdanpanah A and Nadi Baghu M


Background: The prevalence of unintended pregnancy and associated risks are higher in late reproductive years. Limited studies have focused on contraceptive choices in these women. The aim of the study was to identify contraceptive choices and their related factors in women 35 years or older attending health centers of Khuzestan province.

Objectives: Additionally, several lines of evidence indicated relationship between increasing maternal age and poor pregnancy outcomes. Pregnancies above the age of 35 are accompanied with more risks for complication related to pregnancy as compared to younger women. Risk of spontaneous abortion is 74.4% in mothers aged 45 years or more.

Patients and methods: In a cross-sectional study 1584 women aged 35 years and older attending public health centers of four cities of Khuzestan were studied. We used an interviewer-administered questionnaire for data collection. Women investigators were recruited for interview and filling the questionnaire. Participants were assured of the confidentiality of their responses.

Results: The mean age of women was 39.8 ± 4.2 years. The most popular contraceptive methods used in this age group were oral contraceptive pills (31.4%), condom (28.1%), and tubal ligation (14.8%). Less effective contraceptive methods were used in 41.5% of women. Significant associations were found between the use of effective methods and literacy of husband (OR = 0.80, 95% CI: 0.75–0.91), city of residence (OR = 0, 92, 95%CI: 0.87–0.97), women age (OR = 0.97, 95% CI; 0.94–0.99), and women education (OR = 0.87, 95%CI: 0.76–0.99) (p <0.01).


Conclusions: In spite of risk of pregnancy and unintended pregnancy in this age group, about a half of them used less effective contraceptive methods, hence family planning education, and counseling to older women should be a priority in health centers.

Comment: This study from Iran shows that, like in the West, women over 35 years in all countries underestimate their risk of pregnancy, so they need to be well counseled to choose reliable contraception. (HMV)