Perceived Barriers to Contraceptive Access and Acceptance Among Reproductive-Aged Women Receiving Opioid Agonist Therapy in Northeast Tennessee

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backgroundWomen with opioid use disorder (OUD) experience unique barriers to contraception, contributing to higher than average rates of unintended pregnancy. Rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a drug withdrawal syndrome resulting from antenatal drug exposure, are higher in Tennessee than the nation. Few studies have quantified experience of contraceptive barriers or their associations with contraceptive use among women with OUD.

objectives This study estimated prevalence of barriers to access/acceptance of contraceptive services and their associations with current contraceptive use and unwanted pregnancy among reproductive-aged women in Northeast Tennessee receiving opioid agonist therapy (OAT).

methods A cross-sectional survey was administered to female patients aged 18-55 from two OAT clinics. Logistic regression was used to evaluate associations between contraceptive barriers and current contraceptive use and previous unwanted pregnancies.

results Of 91 participants, most were insured (84.4%), experienced at least one barrier (75.8%), and more than half reported unwanted pregnancies (52.8%). Most desired to avoid pregnancy (60.0%) or were ambivalent (30.0%). Common barriers were side effect aversion (53.8%), provider stigmatization (30.7%), appointment compliance (30.23%), and cost (25.0%). Experience of any barrier (AOR=11.6, 2.25-59.8) and access to a contraceptive provider (AOR=9.78, 1.34-71.7) were positively associated with use, while cost was negatively associated (AOR=0.27, 0.07-0.98). Eight barriers were significantly associated with unwanted pregnancies.

conclusionWhile most participants desired to avoid pregnancy, contraceptive barriers were common. Barriers were more strongly associated with previous unwanted pregnancy than current contraception. Contraceptive provision at OAT clinics may reduce incidence of unwanted pregnancy and NAS in Northeast Tennessee.


Philadelphia, PA

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