Barriers to Receiving Long-acting Reversible Contraception in the Postpartum Period

Womens Health Issues. 2015 Nov-Dec;25(6):616-21. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2015.06.004. Epub 2015 Jul 23.


Objective: To assess why postpartum women who desired long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) did not receive it in the postpartum period and to assess which contraceptive methods they were using instead.

Study design: This was a subgroup analysis of 324 women enrolled in a randomized, controlled trial to receive or not receive an educational LARC script during their postpartum hospitalization. Participants in this subgroup analysis stated that they were either using LARC (n = 114) or interested in using LARC (n = 210) during a follow-up survey completed after their scheduled 6-week postpartum visit. Modified Poisson regression analysis was used to assess for characteristics associated with using LARC by the time of the follow-up survey.

Results: Women who were interested in LARC but not using it were more likely to be multiparous (relative risk [RR], 1.59; 95% CI, 1.19-2.11) and to have missed their postpartum visit (RR, 25.88; 95% CI, 3.75-178.44) compared with those using LARC. Among the interested 210 who were not using LARC, the most common reasons provided for non-use were that they were told to come back for another insertion visit (45%), missed the postpartum visit (26%), and could not afford LARC (11%). The most common contraceptive methods used instead of LARC were barrier methods (42%) and abstinence (19%); 18% used no contraceptive method.

Conclusion: Two-thirds (65%) of postpartum women who desired to use LARC did not receive it in the postpartum period and used less effective contraceptive methods. Increasing access to immediate postpartum LARC and eliminating two-visit protocols for LARC insertion may increase postpartum LARC use. As the Affordable Care Act moves toward full implementation, it is necessary to understand the barriers that prevent interested patients from receiving LARC.

Trial registration: NCT01443533.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraception / methods*
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data
  • Contraception Behavior*
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  • Postpartum Period
  • Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female

Associated data