Ineffective use or nonuse of contraceptives following an unplanned birth can contribute to the risk of a subsequent unintended pregnancy; however, the literature on the relationship between unintended pregnancy and postpartum contraceptive use is sparse, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
Data on 4,493 women from the 2014 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey were analyzed; the subjects of the analysis had had a live birth in the three years prior to the survey and were currently at risk of pregnancy. Multilevel logistic regression analysis was used to examine associations between the intendedness of a woman's last pregnancy resulting in a live birth and her current modern contraceptive use adjusting for individual, household and community-level variables.
Twenty-six percent of women reported that their last pregnancy resulting in a live birth had been unintended (15% mistimed and 11% unwanted); 61% reported current use of a modern contraceptive method. Compared with women who reported the pregnancy as having been wanted, those who reported the pregnancy as mistimed had greater odds of current modern contraceptive use (odds ratio, 1.6); no association was found between having had an unwanted pregnancy and subsequent modern contraceptive use. Other important correlates of modern contraceptive use included women's autonomy and desire for children, time since last birth and community-level poverty.
Bangladeshi women who experience an unwanted pregnancy may have an elevated risk of subsequent unintended pregnancy. Broader coverage of family planning services, and integration of family planning with maternal health care, may increase modern contraceptive use following an unplanned birth.
Md Nuruzzaman Khan is lecturer, Department of Population Sciences, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Mymensingh, Bangladesh, and a doctoral candidate, Priority Research Centre for Generational Health and Ageing, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia. Melissa Harris is DECRA Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Deborah Loxton is professor—both with the School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle.