Quality of postpartum contraceptive counseling and changes in contraceptive method preferences

Contraception. 2019 Dec;100(6):492-497. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2019.08.011. Epub 2019 Sep 4.


Objectives: We examined the association between quality of postpartum contraceptive counseling and changes in contraceptive method preference between delivery and 3-months postpartum.

Study design: We used data from 1167 postpartum women delivering at eight hospitals in Texas who did not initiate contraception in the hospital. We conducted baseline and 3-month follow-up interviews to ask women about the method they would prefer to use at 6-months postpartum, postpartum contraceptive counseling, reproductive history, and demographic characteristics. We measured quality of postpartum contraceptive counseling with seven items related to satisfaction and information received. High-quality counseling was defined as meeting all seven criteria. We used logistic regression to predict the primary outcome of changes in preferred method by contraceptive counseling and described contraceptive counseling and changes in preferred method by demographic characteristics.

Results: Receipt of high-quality postpartum contraceptive counseling was reported by 26%. At 3-months postpartum 70% of participants reported the same contraceptive preferences by category of effectiveness that they expressed at the time of delivery. Spanish-speaking, Hispanic foreign-born, and lower socioeconomic status women were less likely to receive high-quality counseling than their counterparts. High-quality counseling was associated with lower odds of preferring a less effective method (OR: 0.31, 95% CI: 0.18-0.52) and changing preference from an IUD or implant (OR: 0.34, 95% CI: 0.17-0.68).

Conclusions: High-quality postpartum contraceptive counseling is relatively rare and occurs less often among low SES and immigrant women. High-quality counseling appears to reinforce preferences for effective contraception.

Implications: Training healthcare providers to provide high-quality contraceptive counseling to all postpartum women may reduce contraceptive disparities related to race/ethnicity and social class.

Keywords: Contraception; Counseling; Patient preferences; Postpartum contraception; Race/ethnicity; Texas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Contraception / psychology*
  • Counseling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Period / psychology*
  • Young Adult