Ineffective or no use of contraception following an unintended pregnancy contributes to a subsequent unintended pregnancy. This study aimed to determine whether women’s experiences of unintended pregnancies affect changing their contraceptive using patterns.
We analysed the 2017/2018 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey data. The contraceptive switching pattern was computed by comparing women’s contraceptives using data before and after pregnancy. Women were categorised into the following three groups, depending on their patterns of contraceptive use before and after pregnancy: no change, if there were no change in contraceptive using pattern; switched to higher effective contraceptives, if changed from pre-pregnancy less effective contraceptives to post-pregnancy more effective contraceptives; switched to less effective contraceptives, if changed from pre-pregnancy more effective contraceptives to post-pregnancy less effective contraceptives. Women’s intention in the most recent pregnancy was our primary explanatory variable, classified as wanted, mistimed and unwanted. Multinomial multilevel logistics regression was used to determine the association between women’s intention in the most recent pregnancy and women’s contraceptive methods switching patterns from before to after pregnancy.
Around 20% of the most recent pregnancies that ended with a live birth were unintended at conception. No contraceptive use was reported by 37% of women before their pregnancies which decreased to 24% after pregnancies. Overall, around 54% of women who reported no contraceptive use before pregnancy used modern contraceptives after pregnancy. The rate was higher among women who experienced unwanted pregnancy (73.4%) than mistimed (58.8%) and wanted (53.4%) pregnancy. Experience of mistimed pregnancy was associated with a higher likelihood of no contraceptive change (aOR, 1.84, 95% CI 1.41–2.39) and switching to less effective contraceptives (aOR, 1.58, 95% CI 1.10–2.26) than switching to more effective contraceptives. However, unwanted pregnancy was not associated with any significant change in contraceptives use from before to after pregnancy.
Experience of unintended pregnancy did not change women’s contraception using patterns, which indicates the risk of repeat unintended pregnancies and associated adverse consequences, including maternal and child morbidity and mortality. Policies to ensure access to and use of modern contraceptives among women facing unwanted or mistimed pregnancies are recommended.