Women’s experiences of accessing postpartum intrauterine contraception in a public maternity setting: a qualitative service evaluation

Nicola Boydell, Michelle Cooper, Sharon Cameron, Anna Glasier, Shiona Coutts, Frances McGuire, Jeni Harden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objectives: The aims of the study were to explore women’s experiences of an immediate postpartum intrauterine contraception (PPIUC) service recently introduced in a UK maternity setting, to identify areas for improvement and inform service provision.
Methods: Qualitative research was carried out in hospital and community maternity services in Lothian, UK. In-depth qualitative interview responses of 35 women who had received PPIUC at vaginal or caesarean delivery were subjected to thematic analysis to explore the women’s experiences of PPIUC service provision.
Results: Women’s decisions to choose PPIUC were influenced by their perception of intrauterine contraception (IUC) as a suitable and effective method and the convenience of immediate postpartum insertion. Most women were satisfied with their experience of PPIUC. Women delivering vaginally sometimes reported concerns about delays to insertion, particularly where they perceived a lack of communication from staff about when and where insertion would occur. PPIUC information was described as being difficult to absorb in the context of ante/postnatal information overload. Those receiving PPIUC at caesarean delivery sometimes expressed concerns about what post-insertion support might be available in primary care.
Conclusion: Women typically reported satisfaction with their decision to have PPIUC. For maternity services considering introducing PPIUC, our findings reinforce the importance of anticipating and addressing implementation challenges in order to enhance women’s experience of the service. These include ensuring that: clear and appropriate PPIUC information and support are provided antenatally; women are able to access PPIUC immediately after delivery; robust clinical pathways are in place to support post-insertion IUC care; and both staff and women are familiar with the clinical pathways.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care
Early online date29 Sept 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Sept 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Health care service delivery
  • intrauterine contraception
  • postpartum contraception
  • postpartum intrauterine contraception
  • qualitative research


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