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Keywords:

  • Contraception;
  • unintended pregnancy;
  • ethnic groups;
  • sexual behavior;
  • reproductive health

ABSTRACT

Objective

To describe the rate of contraceptive use and types of contraception used by low-income women.

Design

A descriptive study was used to survey women about their contraceptive use and sexual behaviors 12 months prior to the time of the interview.

Participants and Setting

A convenience sample of 110 low-income women living in three urban medically underserved neighborhoods who enrolled in a larger study was included.

Methods

Univariate and bivariate descriptive analyses were conducted using STATA 10.

Results

Forty-eight (43.6%) of the women were African American, 43 (39.1%) were Hispanic, and 17 (15.5%) were White. The women were age 18 to 55 years (Mean = 31 years). Forty percent of these women who were not pregnant or planning to get pregnant had sex without contraceptives in the past 12 months. The percentage of women who used contraception decreased from 77.3% users in the last 12 months to 63.6% current users. The most common methods used within the last 12 months were condom use by male partner (28.2%), birth control pills (14.6%), contraceptive injection (12.7%), intrauterine device (10.9%), and the patch (1.8%).

Conclusions

Many of the low-income women from medically underserved neighborhoods did not use contraceptives and of those who used contraceptives, the majority used the least effective methods.