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Contraception Use and Satisfaction Among Mothers with Low-Income: Evidence from the Baby's First Years Study.

Contraception 2023 October 7
OBJECTIVE(S): Low income can lead to limited choice of and access to contraception. We examine whether an unconditional cash transfer (UCT) impacts contraceptive use, including increased satisfaction with and reduced barriers to preferred methods, for individuals with low income.

STUDY DESIGN: Baby's First Years (BFY) is a randomized control study of a monthly UCT to families with low incomes. The study enrolled 1,000 mothers at the time of childbirth across four US sites in 2018-2019; 400 were randomized to receive a UCT of $333/month and 600 were randomized to receive $20/month for the first years of their child's life. We use intent-to-treat analyses to estimate the impact of the cash transfer on contraception use, satisfaction with contraception method, and barriers to using methods of choice.

RESULTS: Over 65% of mothers reported using some type of contraception, and three-quarters of mothers reported using the method of their choice. We find no impact of the UCT on mothers' choice of, satisfaction with, or barriers to, contraception. However, receipt of the cash was associated with trends toward using multiple methods and greater use of short-term hormonal methods.

CONCLUSION(S): We find high levels of satisfaction with current contraceptive use among mothers of young children with low-income. Receipt of monthly UCTs did not impact contraception methods, perceived barriers to use, or satisfaction. Yet, 25% were not using the method of their choice, despite the provision of cash, indicating that this cash amount alone may not be sufficient to impact contraceptive use or increase satisfaction.

IMPLICATIONS: Satisfaction with contraception use among low-income populations may be higher than previously documented. Nevertheless, provision of modest financial resources alone may not sufficiently address access, availability, and satisfaction for individuals with low-incomes of child-bearing age. This suggests the importance of exploring how other non-financial factors influence reproductive autonomy, including contraceptive use.

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