When is a good time to begin? Dynamics of contraceptive use among women in the extended post-partum period in Africa
Soumya Alva, ICF Macro
Leanne Dougherty, JSI Research and Training Institute
This paper analyzes retrospective information on contraceptive use to examine patterns of initiation and switching of contraceptive methods among women in the extended postpartum period ranging from childbirth to 12 months. Using data from the most recent DHS in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, Sub-Saharan countries with high fertility, a demonstrated unmet need, yet varying rates of modern contraceptive use, we examine specific sub-populations such as those belonging to the poorest socioeconomic groups, or younger age groups so that family planning programs may be targeted to those in greater need. We take into account country policies regarding postpartum contraception and the sources of methods to understand these patterns. This research will help frame policies to target the delivery of family planning services more effectively to these groups, possibly through integration with maternal and child health services to prevent unintended pregnancy, particularly with short birth intervals.