Contraceptive Changes after Reproductive Events among Australian Women Born in 1973 to 1978: A Longitudinal Study from 1996 to 2009 Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Women change contraception as they try to conceive, space births, and limit family size. This longitudinal analysis examines contraception changes after reproductive events such as birth, miscarriage or termination among Australian women born from 1973 to 1978 to identify potential opportunities to increase the effectiveness of contraceptive information and service provision. METHODS: Between 1996 and 2009, 5,631 Australian women randomly sampled from the Australian universal health insurance (Medicare) database completed five self-report postal surveys. Three longitudinal logistic regression models were used to assess the associations between reproductive events (birth only, birth and miscarriage, miscarriage only, termination only, other multiple events, and no new event) and subsequent changes in contraceptive use (start using, stop using, switch method) compared with women who continued to use the same method. RESULTS: After women experienced only a birth, or a birth and a miscarriage, they were more likely to start using contraception. Women who experienced miscarriages were more likely to stop using contraception. Women who experienced terminations were more likely to switch methods. There was a significant interaction between reproductive events and time indicating more changes in contraceptive use as women reach their mid-30s. CONCLUSION: Contraceptive use increases after the birth of a child, but decreases after miscarriage indicating the intention for family formation and spacing between children. Switching contraceptive methods after termination suggests these pregnancies were unintended and possibly due to contraceptive failure. Women's contact with health professionals around the time of reproductive events provides an opportunity to provide contraceptive services.

publication date

  • November 2011