New Moms Welcome Contraceptive Counseling by Pediatricians at Well-Baby Visit

May 7, 2013

New Orleans, LA -- Nine out of 10 new mothers would welcome contraceptive counseling by their pediatrician at their well-baby visit, according to research presented today at the Annual Clinical Meeting of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Adding contraceptive counseling to the well-baby visit may help reduce unplanned pregnancies, say the researchers.

Lead investigator Tara N. Kumaraswami, MD, MPH, recruited women from obstetric postpartum visits and pediatric well-baby visits at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System in Chicago. One-hundred women were enrolled in each group. Well-baby visit participants completed a survey followed by contraceptive counseling and a post-counseling survey. Postpartum visit participants were surveyed after their postpartum visit only.

Prior to contraceptive counseling, 83% of well-baby visit participants reported comfort discussing birth control, and 84% stated they would accept contraception advice received at the well-baby visit. Following contraceptive counseling, these women reported significantly increased comfort levels in discussing contraception and their likelihood of using a contraception prescription.

Ninety-five percent of women reported that contraceptive counseling at the well-baby visit was convenient, and 90% would prefer if contraceptive counseling were available at that visit.

“This finding has the greatest impact on women who often prioritize their infant’s health care needs above their own,” Dr. Kumaraswami said. “By bringing contraceptive counseling to mothers in the pediatrician’s office, we are able to reach women who may not show up for their own postpartum visit.”

Previous studies have shown that many women resume sexual intercourse prior to their postpartum visit, putting them at risk for unintended pregnancy. According to Dr. Kumaraswami, up to 44% of women have an unintended pregnancy within the first year postpartum. By reaching women earlier through contraceptive counseling in the pediatrician’s office, physicians may help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.

“My goal was to increase access to contraceptives in the weeks after a woman has given birth by trying unique approaches to birth control counseling," Dr. Kumaraswami said. “Contraception is an extremely important aspect of preventive care in women’s health.”

This research was funded through a grant from the Society of Family Planning.

*Tuesday Poster #5: Postpartum Contraception: How Can the Well Baby Visit Be Used to Improve Counseling and Provision?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 57,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization.


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