The effects of family planning and other factors on fertility, abortion, miscarriage, and stillbirths in the Spectrum model

BMC Public Health. 2017 Nov 7;17(Suppl 4):775. doi: 10.1186/s12889-017-4740-7.


Background: The Lives Saved Tool (LiST) estimates the effects of maternal and child health interventions on mortality rates and the number of deaths. The family planning module in Spectrum interacts with LiST by providing estimates of the effects of scaling up family planning use on the number of live births, miscarriages, abortions, and stillbirths.

Methods: We use the proximate determinants of fertility framework to estimate the effects of changes in contraceptive use, proportion married, postpartum insusceptibility, abortion and sterility on the total fertility rate. We extend this framework to estimate the number of intended and unintended pregnancies and the resulting live births, abortions, stillbirths, and miscarriages.

Results: We apply the model to four countries (Mali, Kenya, Indonesia, and Ukraine) to demonstrate possible trends with a range of family planning and fertility levels. In high-fertility countries, such as Mali, increases in contraceptive use will partially compensate for the increasing number of women of reproductive age to reduce the annual increases in pregnancies and births. Most unintended pregnancies occur to women defined as having unmet need for contraception. In low-fertility countries, increases in contraceptive use may reduce abortion rates and low levels of unmet need mean that most unintended pregnancies are due to method failure.

Conclusions: The family planning module in Spectrum provides a useful framework to incorporate changes in contraceptive practices and pregnancy outcomes in the LiST calculations of mortality rates and deaths.

Keywords: Avenir health; Family planning; Lives saved tool; Spectrum.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data*
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Birth Rate / trends*
  • Contraception Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Family Planning Services*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indonesia / epidemiology
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Mali / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Stillbirth / epidemiology*
  • Ukraine / epidemiology
  • Young Adult