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Reproductive readiness predicts a woman’s non-use of contraception in the postpartum months in U.S.

Michael S. Rendall and Monica L. Caudillo examine reproductive readiness in U.S. Women’s Postpartum Non-Use of Contraception

Michael S. Rendall, director at MPRC and professor in Sociology, along with MPRC Faculty Associate Monica L. Caudillo, Assistant Professor zalso from Sociology, published a study on Demography examining reproductive readiness in women's postpartum non-use of contraception in the United States.

According to the study, "closely spaced pregnancy or birth intervals, sometimes referred to in the public health and medical literature as “rapid repeat pregnancy” (e.g., Tocce et al. 2012), have long been believed to increase the risks of adverse infant and maternal health conditions." Therefore, the current World Health Organization (WHO 2007:18) recommendation is for an interpregnancy interval (IPI), defined as the time between a live birth and next conception, of 24 months or longer “in order to reduce the risk of adverse maternal, perinatal and infant outcomes.

The study used data from the 2012–2015 PRAMS (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2019), where the PRAMS is an annual, state-level survey from a probability sample of women who gave birth in a given calendar year; and it is coordinated by the CDC in collaboration with state health departments.

In predicting contraceptive non-use by this prospective pregnancy intention, the study uses reproductive readiness factors, including the woman’s marital status, age, parity, and perception of the timing of her recent birth relative to her desired family formation schedule. Results indicate that being married, being older, having a parity of 1, and describing her recent birth as later than desired are highly predictive of women’s postpartum non-use of contraception because of a stated desire to become pregnant; these factors are moderately predictive of contraceptive non-use without an explicit pregnancy intention.

See the complete study on Demography