Unmet need for postpartum family planning in Alexandria, Egypt
Background: Postpartum women are a priority group to target on trying to solve the problem of closely spaced pregnancies as well as population explosion.
Aim: To estimate the level of unmet need for postpartum family planning one year after birth as well as identify factors associated with having unmet need in Alexandria, Egypt.
Methods: A cross sectional survey was adopted. A sample of 1500 women one year post-partum was selected. A predesigned interviewing questionnaire was used to collect data. Data include their sociodemographic characteristics and current use of family planning method. Those with unmet need for postpartum family planning (PPFP) were asked about the reasons for non-use, their intention to use in the future and their knowledge about contraceptives.
Setting: Public settings delivering routine immunization for infants in Alexandria.
Results: Out of 1500 postpartum women, 1370 (91.33%) have a real demand for family planning. Out of those with a real demand for family planning (n = 1370), 1106 (80.72%) were using a modern contraceptive method and only 41 (3%) were using a traditional method for birth control while the remaining 223 (16.28%) were having unmet need for postpartum family planning. Amenorrhea, breast feeding, fear of side effects, discontinuation due to health concerns and pressure from the surroundings were the most common cited reasons for non-use.
Conclusion: Integration of family planning education during antenatal, natal and postnatal care services in Egypt should be actively initiated. Women with unmet need for PPFP in general and those with intention to use a contraceptive in particular should be targeted for recruitment efforts and services in any program tackle the problem of family planning and rising fertility in Egypt.
Keywords: Postpartum family planning, Unmet need, Missed opportunity, Closely spaced pregnancies