Contraceptive Use Patterns Among Women of Reproductive Age in Two Southeastern States

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Background: Unintended pregnancies remain an important public health issue. Modern contraception is an important clinical service for reducing unintended pregnancy. This study examines contraception use among a representative sample of women residing in two southeastern U.S. states. Methods: A cross-sectional statewide survey assessing women's contraceptive use and reproductive health experiences was conducted in Alabama and South Carolina. Characteristics of the study population were compared across contraceptive use categories and multivariable regression analysis was performed examining relationships between covariates of interest and contraceptive use outcomes. Results: Approximately 3,775 women were included in the study population. Overall, 26.5% of women reported not using any contraception. Short-acting hormonal methods were the most commonly reported (26.3%), followed by permanent methods (24.4%), long-acting reversible contraception (LARC; 14.3%), and barrier/other methods (8.5%). Nonuse was more prevalent among women with some college or an associate's degree, incomes between $25,000 and $50,000, no health insurance, and longer gaps in care. LARC use among women with Medicaid as a pay source was higher than use among privately insured women and higher in South Carolina than Alabama. Both nonuse and LARC use were higher among women with no insurance. Conclusions: Study findings are largely consistent with previous research using similar population-based surveys. LARC use was higher among the study population relative to what is observed nationally. Factors enabling access to contraceptive services, particularly for lower income women, were associated with contraception use patterns. These findings provide important context for understanding individuals’ access to resources and are important for fostering increased access to contraceptive services among women in these two states.