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Contraceptive Failure, Method-Related Discontinuation and Resumption of Use: Results from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth
James Trussell and Barbara Vaughan
Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 31, No. 2 (Mar. - Apr., 1999), pp. 64-72+93
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2991641
Page Count: 10
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Context: Half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. Of these, half occur to women who were practicing contraception in the month they conceived, and others occur when couples stop use because they find their method difficult or inconvenient to use. Methods: Data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth were used to compute life-table probabilities of contraceptive failure for reversible methods of contraception, discontinuation of use for a method-related reason and resumption of contraceptive use. Results: Within one year of starting to use a reversible method of contraception, 9% of women experience a contraceptive failure-7% of those using the pill, 9% of those relying on the male condom and 19% of those practicing withdrawal. During a lifetime of use of reversible methods, the typical woman will experience 1.8 contraceptive failures. Overall, 31% of women discontinue use of a reversible contraceptive for a method-related reason within six months of starting use, and 44% do so within 12 months; however, 68% resume use of a method within one month and 76% do so within three months. Multivariate analyses show that the risk of contraceptive failure is elevated among low-income women and Hispanic women. Low-income women are also less likely than other women to resume contraceptive use after discontinuation. Conclusions: The risks of pregnancy during typical use of reversible methods of contraception are considerably higher than risks of failure during clinical trials, reflecting imperfect use of these methods rather than lack of inherent efficacy. High rates of method-related discontinuation probably reflect dissatisfaction with available methods.
Family Planning Perspectives © 1999 Guttmacher Institute