Postpartum contraceptive uptake and fertility desires following obstetric anal sphincter injury

Michele O’Shea*, Roya Zandi, Natasha Kamat, Kristina Warner, Sarah Collins, Margaret Mueller, Kimberly Kenton, Christina Lewicky-Gaupp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction and hypothesis: Our primary objective was to compare rates of contraceptive use among postpartum heterosexual primiparous women with and without obstetric anal sphincter injury (OASIS). The secondary objective was to compare fertility desires among women with and without OASIS. Methods: This was a planned secondary analysis of a prospective cohort study of postpartum sexual function among primiparous postpartum women. Women with a history of vaginal delivery with and without OASIS completed online surveys at baseline and 3 months postpartum. Results: Sixty-nine women completed baseline and 3-month surveys. Forty-one percent of women with OASIS and 36% without OASIS were not using contraception at 3 months postpartum. One-third of women in either group reported using at least moderately effective contraception (P = 0.9), defined as using hormonal contraception or an intrauterine contraceptive device, and excluding condoms. Most women with OASIS (54%) desired to wait 1 to 2 years before attempting another pregnancy. One fifth of women with and without OASIS desired another pregnancy within the next year (P = 0.4). Conclusions: A minority of postpartum primiparous women in the present cohort reported using moderately effective contraception 3 months postpartum, regardless of whether they sustained OASIS. The discrepancy between current contraceptive use and desired birth spacing suggests an unmet contraceptive need within our population and an opportunity for improved contraceptive counseling consistent with patients’ family planning goals, as well as national and international guidelines on birth spacing. Larger prospective studies are needed to further understand the unmet contraceptive need among women with OASIS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1833-1838
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Family planning
  • Obstetric anal sphincter injury
  • Postpartum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Urology


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