contraceptives are needed to reduce the incidence of pregnancy within 2 years
of a teenager giving birth for the first time (ie, rapid repeat pregnancy
[RRP]), according to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Mrs Lucy Lewis, research midwife for the School of Women's and Infants' Health, and School of Paediatrics and Child Health, at the University of Western Australia, and coauthors conducted a study among teenage mothers to evaluate the predictors of a return to sexual intercourse and the incidence of RRP.
Mrs Lewis said that 94 per cent of teenagers had resumed sex within 24 months postpartum. Of these, 30 per cent did so without contraception.
"Our finding reinforces the need for ongoing contraceptive support and follow-up in this population, to encourage long-term use."
Of the 147 participants, 33 per cent experienced an RRP. Analysis of factors associated with RRP showed that current use of long-acting contraceptives was associated with a reduced incidence of RRP.
"A surprising finding in our study was that teenagers using an oral contraceptive were as likely as those using barrier methods or no contraception to experience RRP," Mrs Lewis said.
"Teenagers can be poor users of oral contraceptives, and condom use in this population is often inconsistent.
"Long-acting contraceptives appear to be the only means by which RRP is effectively reduced in this population.
"There are two options available to health care providers for reducing the rate of RRP. The first is to provide teenage mothers with ready access to long-acting contraceptives, and provide ongoing contraceptive support to encourage their long-term use. The second is for health care providers to gain a clear understanding of teenage mothers' intention with regard to repeat pregnancy so appropriate advice and support can be given."
The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.