Variation in postpartum contraceptive method use: results from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS)
White K, Potter J, Hopkins K, Grossman D. Variation in postpartum contraceptive method use: results from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). Contraception. January 2014 ;89(1):57-62.
OBJECTIVE: The National Survey of Family Growth has been a primary data source for trends in US women's contraceptive use. However, national-level data may mask differences in contraceptive practice resulting from variation in local policies and norms.
STUDY DESIGN: We used the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, a survey of women who are 2-4 months postpartum. Information on women's current method was available for 18 reporting areas from 2000 to 2009. Using the two most recent years of data, we computed the weighted proportion of women using specific contraceptive methods according to payment for delivery (Medicaid or private insurance) and examined differences across states. We used log binomial regression to assess trends in method use in 8 areas with consecutive years of data.
RESULTS: Across states, there was a wide range of use of female sterilization (7.0-22.6%) and long-acting reversible contraception (LARC; 1.9-25.5%). Other methods, like vasectomy and the patch/ring, had a narrower range of use. Women with Medicaid-paid deliveries were more likely to report female sterilization, LARC and injectables as their method compared to women with private insurance. LARC use increased ≥18% per year, while use of injectables and oral contraceptives declined by 2.5-10.6% annually.
CONCLUSIONS: The correlation in method-specific prevalence within states suggests shared social and medical norms, while the larger variation across states may reflect both differences in norms and access to contraception for low-income women. Surveys of postpartum women, who are beginning a new segment of contraceptive use, may better capture emerging trends in US contraceptive method mix.
IMPLICATIONS: There is considerable variation in contraceptive method use across states, which may result from differences in state policies and funding for family planning services, local medical norms surrounding contraceptive practice, and women's and couples' demand or preference for different methods.