Abstract

Background
In Australia, it is estimated that 30% of pregnancies are unintended and 25% of pregnancies end in abortion. Unintended pregnancy can be particularly problematic for women with substance use disorders (SUD) and/or socioeconomic disadvantage. Long‐acting reversible contraception (LARC) including progestogen implants and intrauterine devices (IUD) are safe, affordable and extremely effective in decreasing rates of unintended pregnancy, yet are currently underutilised in Australia.

Aims
To determine the current rate of unintended pregnancy, contraception counselling and postpartum LARC use in women who attend an antenatal clinic for SUD and/or socioeconomic disadvantage in pregnancy. We hypothesise that there is an unmet need for contraception in this population.

Materials and Methods
We conducted a retrospective audit of women who birthed in a tertiary hospital in 2018 with SUD and/or additional social support needs. We recorded the rate of unintended pregnancy, the occurrence of antenatal and postpartum contraception counselling and the rate of immediate postpartum LARC uptake through review of our electronic medical database.

Results
Of the 210 women in our study population, we identified a high proportion of unintended pregnancies (64%), a low rate of antenatal (11%) and postpartum (35%) contraception counselling, and a low uptake of immediate postpartum LARC use (3.3%), confirming an unmet need for contraception.

Conclusions
Further intervention is required to enhance the access to immediate postpartum LARC and reduce the risk and health burden of unintended pregnancy.