Young Maori mothers face contraception barriers - study


Young Maori mothers face health system barriers when trying to access timely contraception, a University of Otago study says.

The study, published in the Journal of Primary Health Care, looks into contraception before and after pregnancy.

It found most participants accessed contraception pre-pregnancy, but this was compromised through lack of information, negative side effects and limited follow-up.

Forty-one young mothers participated in the study, with the youngest mother being 14 years old.

It says all participants reported their pregnancies were unplanned, and although they gave "considerable thought" to post-pregnancy contraception, many faced barriers.

"Most of those barriers are due to cost, where you would go, transport to get to get to where you wanted to go, and no clear path of where you want to go," says lead author Dr Bev Lawton from the Women's Health Research Centre at the University of Otago.

"We found there was a lack of system focus on contraception initiation and for some, a lack of integrated care between midwives and other primary care services, leaving many participants without effective contraception."

Dr Lawton says to make the system more seamless, funding should be readily available for the insertion of IUDs or other long-acting reversible contraceptives.

"Often you have to pay an insertion fee, and even if that's $100 that's a lot of money for a young person, and it's the repeat visits, and they happen," she says.

As well as cost she says it's about receiving the correct information.

"One of the young women wasn't getting the correct information. She was told to have a break from her [contraception] and she was told to have a stop and a rest. And what happens when you stop your contraception? You get pregnant, and she was told that by health professionals."

Dr Lawson says at the moment there is a good process where a GP is notified of a birth, and when the baby is six weeks old it is followed up with a vaccination visit.

"That's the ideal time to make sure that the needs of the woman, and what she wants are being met in regards to contraception."