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Optimizing maternal and neonatal outcomes with postpartum contraception: impact on breastfeeding and birth spacing

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      Abstract

      Postpartum contraception is important to prevent unintended pregnancies. Assisting women in achieving recommended inter-pregnancy intervals is a significant maternal-child health concern. Short inter-pregnancy intervals are associated with negative perinatal, neonatal, infant, and maternal health outcomes. More than 30% of women experience inter-pregnancy intervals of less than 18 months in the United States. Provision of any contraceptive method after giving birth is associated with improved inter-pregnancy intervals. However, concerns about the impact of hormonal contraceptives on breastfeeding and infant health have limited recommendations for such methods and have led to discrepant recommendations by organizations such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this review, we discuss current recommendations for the use of hormonal contraception in the postpartum period. We also discuss details of the lactational amenorrhea method and effects of hormonal contraception on breastfeeding. Given the paucity of high quality evidence on the impact on hormonal contraception on breastfeeding outcomes, and the strong evidence for improved health outcomes with achievement of recommended birth spacing intervals, the real risk of unintended pregnancy and its consequences must not be neglected for fear of theoretical neonatal risks. Women should establish desired hormonal contraception before the risk of pregnancy resumes. With optimization of postpartum contraception provision, we will step closer toward a healthcare system with fewer unintended pregnancies and improved birth outcomes.

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      Birth spacing and risk of adverse perinatal outcomes: a meta-analysis.

      Both short and long interpregnancy intervals have been associated with an increased risk of adverse perinatal outcomes. However, whether this possible association is confounded by maternal characteristics or socioeconomic status is uncertain. To examine the association between birth spacing and relative risk of adverse perinatal outcomes. Studies published in any language were retrieved by searching MEDLINE (1966 through January 2006), EMBASE, ECLA, POPLINE, CINAHL, and LILACS, proceedings of meetings on birth spacing, and bibliographies of retrieved articles, and by contact with relevant researchers in the field. Included studies were cohort, cross-sectional, and case-control studies with results adjusted for at least maternal age and socioeconomic status, reporting risk estimates and 95% confidence intervals (or data to calculate them) of birth spacing and perinatal outcomes. Of 130 articles identified in the search, 67 (52%) were included. Information on study design, participant characteristics, measure of birth spacing used, measures of outcome, control for potential confounding factors, and risk estimates was abstracted independently by 2 investigators using a standardized protocol. A random-effects model and meta-regression analyses were used to pool data from individual studies. Compared with interpregnancy intervals of 18 to 23 months, interpregnancy intervals shorter than 6 months were associated with increased risks of preterm birth, low birth weight, and small for gestational age (pooled adjusted odds ratios [95% confidence intervals]: 1.40 [1.24-1.58], 1.61 [1.39-1.86], and 1.26 [1.18-1.33], respectively). Intervals of 6 to 17 months and longer than 59 months were also associated with a significantly greater risk for the 3 adverse perinatal outcomes. Interpregnancy intervals shorter than 18 months and longer than 59 months are significantly associated with increased risk of adverse perinatal outcomes. These data suggest that spacing pregnancies appropriately could help prevent such adverse perinatal outcomes.
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        Ulipristal acetate versus levonorgestrel for emergency contraception: a randomised non-inferiority trial and meta-analysis.

        Emergency contraception can prevent unintended pregnancies, but current methods are only effective if used as soon as possible after sexual intercourse and before ovulation. We compared the efficacy and safety of ulipristal acetate with levonorgestrel for emergency contraception. Women with regular menstrual cycles who presented to a participating family planning clinic requesting emergency contraception within 5 days of unprotected sexual intercourse were eligible for enrolment in this randomised, multicentre, non-inferiority trial. 2221 women were randomly assigned to receive a single, supervised dose of 30 mg ulipristal acetate (n=1104) or 1.5 mg levonorgestrel (n=1117) orally. Allocation was by block randomisation stratified by centre and time from unprotected sexual intercourse to treatment, with allocation concealment by identical opaque boxes labelled with a unique treatment number. Participants were masked to treatment assignment whereas investigators were not. Follow-up was done 5-7 days after expected onset of next menses. The primary endpoint was pregnancy rate in women who received emergency contraception within 72 h of unprotected sexual intercourse, with a non-inferiority margin of 1% point difference between groups (limit of 1.6 for odds ratio). Analysis was done on the efficacy-evaluable population, which excluded women lost to follow-up, those aged over 35 years, women with unknown follow-up pregnancy status, and those who had re-enrolled in the study. Additionally, we undertook a meta-analysis of our trial and an earlier study to assess the efficacy of ulipristal acetate compared with levonorgestrel. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00551616. In the efficacy-evaluable population, 1696 women received emergency contraception within 72 h of sexual intercourse (ulipristal acetate, n=844; levonorgestrel, n=852). There were 15 pregnancies in the ulipristal acetate group (1.8%, 95% CI 1.0-3.0) and 22 in the levonorgestrel group (2.6%, 1.7-3.9; odds ratio [OR] 0.68, 95% CI 0.35-1.31). In 203 women who received emergency contraception between 72 h and 120 h after sexual intercourse, there were three pregnancies, all of which were in the levonorgestrel group. The most frequent adverse event was headache (ulipristal acetate, 213 events [19.3%] in 1104 women; levonorgestrel, 211 events [18.9%] in 1117 women). Two serious adverse events were judged possibly related to use of emergency contraception; a case of dizziness in the ulipristal acetate group and a molar pregnancy in the levonorgestrel group. In the meta-analysis (0-72 h), there were 22 (1.4%) pregnancies in 1617 women in the ulipristal acetate group and 35 (2.2%) in 1625 women in the levonorgestrel group (OR 0.58, 0.33-0.99; p=0.046). Ulipristal acetate provides women and health-care providers with an effective alternative for emergency contraception that can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sexual intercourse. HRA Pharma. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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          Return of ovulation and menses in postpartum nonlactating women: a systematic review.

          To estimate, from the literature, when nonlactating postpartum women regain fertility. We searched PubMed and Cochrane Library databases for all articles (in all languages) published in peer-reviewed journals from database inception through May 2010 for evidence related to the return of ovulation and menses in nonlactating postpartum women. Search terms included "Fertility" (Mesh) OR "Ovulation" (Mesh) OR "Ovulation Detection" (Mesh) OR "Ovulation Prediction" (Mesh) OR fertility OR ovulat* AND "Postpartum Period" (Mesh) OR postpartum OR puerperium AND Human AND Female. We included articles assessing nonlactating women's first ovulation postpartum. Studies in which women breastfed for any period of time or in whom lactation was suppressed with medications were excluded. We identified 1,623 articles; six articles reported four studies met our inclusion criteria. In three studies utilizing urinary pregnanediol levels to measure ovulation, mean day of first ovulation ranged from 45 to 94 days postpartum; 20%-71% of first menses were preceded by ovulation and 0%-60% of these ovulations were potentially fertile. In one study that used basal body temperature to measure ovulation, mean first ovulation occurred on day 74 postpartum; 33% of first menses were preceded by ovulation and 70% of these were potentially fertile. Most nonlactating women will not ovulate until 6 weeks postpartum. A small number of women will ovulate earlier, potentially putting them at risk for pregnancy sooner, although the fertility of these early ovulations is not well-established. The potential risk of pregnancy soon after delivery underscores the importance of initiating postpartum contraception in a timely fashion.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles, California, USA
            [2 ]Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Women’s Health, University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, Hawaii, USA
            Contributors
            asridhar@mednet.ucla.edu
            jlsalced@hawaii.edu
            Journal
            Matern Health Neonatol Perinatol
            Matern Health Neonatol Perinatol
            Maternal Health, Neonatology and Perinatology
            BioMed Central (London )
            2054-958X
            13 January 2017
            13 January 2017
            2017
            : 3
            5237348 40 10.1186/s40748-016-0040-y
            © The Author(s). 2017

            Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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            © The Author(s) 2017

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