Improving Contraceptive Use: An Investigation of Factors Associated with Inconsistent and Incorrect Contraceptive Method Use in the United States

Jennifer J. Frost, The Alan Guttmacher Institute
Susheela D. Singh, The Alan Guttmacher Institute
Lawrence B. Finer, The Alan Guttmacher Institute

Unintended pregnancies continue to occur at a high level in the U.S. – 49% in 1995. Contraceptive failure rates and method discontinuation rates are also very high. In order to identify strategies for helping women become more continuous, consistent and effective contraceptive users, we investigate women’s contraceptive use patterns and the factors contributing toward gaps in method use and incorrect use. This paper is based on a nationally representative telephone survey of 2,000 women at risk of an unplanned pregnancy, fielded in 2004. We identify which use patterns (sporadic use and nonuse) and which problems (incorrect and inconsistent use) are most common and potentially most important in contributing to risk for unintended pregnancy. We also examine the impact of socio-economic, personal, relationship and service provision factors hypothesized to be associated with method use patterns and with inconsistent or incorrect use.

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Presented in Session 171: Contraceptive Use in the United States