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Contraceptive use at last intercourse among reproductive-aged women with disabilities: an analysis of population-based data from seven states
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    Objective To assess patterns of contraceptive use at last intercourse among women with physical or cognitive disabilities compared to women without disabilities. Study design We analyzed responses to 12 reproductive health questions added by seven states to their 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System questionnaire. Using responses from female respondents 18–50 years of age, we performed multinomial regression to calculate estimates of contraceptive use among women at risk for unintended pregnancy by disability status and type, adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, marital status, education, health insurance status, and parity. Results Women with disabilities had similar rates of sexual activity as women without disabilities (90.0% vs. 90.6%, p=.76). Of 5995 reproductive-aged women at risk for unintended pregnancy, 1025 (17.1%) reported one or more disabilities. Contraceptive use at last intercourse was reported by 744 (70.1%) of women with disabilities compared with 3805 (74.3%) of those without disabilities (p=.22). Among women using contraception, women with disabilities used male or female permanent contraception more often than women without disabilities (333 [29.6%] versus 1337 [23.1%], p<.05). Moderately effective contraceptive (injection, oral contraceptive, patch, or ring) use occurred less frequently among women with cognitive (13.1%, n=89) or independent living (13.9%, n=40) disabilities compared to women without disabilities (22.2%, n=946, p<.05). Conclusions The overall prevalence of sexual activity and contraceptive use was similar for women with and without physical or cognitive disabilities. Method use at last intercourse varied based on presence and type of disability, especially for use of permanent contraception. Implications Although women with disabilities were sexually active and used contraception at similar rates as women without disabilities, contraception use varied by disability type, suggesting the importance of this factor in reproductive health decision-making among patients and providers, and the value of further research to identify reasons why this occurs.
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