Sexual and reproductive health

The effects of contraception on obstetric outcomes

Cicely Marston & John Cleland

The effects of contraception on obstetric outcomes

Publication details

Number of pages: 52
Publication date: 2004
Languages: English
ISBN: 92 4 159225 7 - Web only


Does contraception contribute to better maternal health beyond its potential to reduce the proportion of births that are unwanted? This publication attempts to answer that question.

The first section reviews the evidence for the assertion that contraception benefits maternal health by reducing the number of high-risk births. The second section examines a related possibility, namely that unwanted births represent a greater threat to the mother’s health than wanted births because less time and money are invested in antenatal and natal care. Lack of antenatal care and, to a greater extent, lack of skilled medical supervision during delivery are established risk factors for poor obstetric outcomes. This section presents new evidence on the link between “unwantedness” and obstetric care.