Initiation of Postpartum Contraception by 90 Days at a Midwest Academic Center


  • Natalie A. Eisenach, M.D.
  • Mason E. Uvodich, M.D.
  • Sharon F. Wolff, MPH
  • Valerie A. French, M.D., MAS


postpartum, contraception, pregnancy, long-acting reversible contraception


Introduction. Contraception is a critical component of addressing the health needs of women in the postpartum period. We assessed contraception initiation by 90 days postpartum at a large, academic medical center in the Midwest.

Methods. In this retrospective cohort study, 299 charts were randomly sampled and 231 were analyzed from deliveries between May 1 to July 5, 2018. Contraceptive method, maternal demographics, and obstetric characteristics at hospital discharge were collected, as well as contraceptive method at the postpartum follow-up appointment. Methods and strata of contraception were categorized as follows: 1) highly effective methods (HEM) defined as sterilization, intrauterine device, or implant, 2) moderately effective methods (MEM) defined as injectable contraception, progestin-only pills, and combined estrogen/progestin pills, patches, and rings, and 3) less effective methods (LEM) defined as condoms, natural family planning, and lactational amenorrhea. Women lost to follow-up who had initiated a HEM or injectable contraception were coded as still using the method at 90 days. We used logistic regression to identity factors associated with HEM use.

Results. Of the 231 included patients, 118 (51%) received contraception before hospital discharge and 166 (83%) by 90 days postpartum. Postpartum visits were attended by 74% (171/231) of patients. Before hospital discharge, 28% (65/231) obtained a HEM and 41% (82/200) were using a HEM by 90 days postpartum. Patients obtaining HEM or injectable contraception before hospital discharge attended a follow-up visit less often than those who did not receive HEM before discharge (RR = 0.68, 95% CI: 0.54 - 0.86, p ≤ 0.01).

Conclusion. When readily available, many women will initiate contraception in the postpartum period. Health systems should work to ensure comprehensive access to contraception for women in the postpartum period.






Original Research