Factors influencing uptake of intrauterine devices among postpartum adolescents: a qualitative study

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We assessed barriers and facilitators to uptake of the intrauterine device (IUD) among primiparous African American adolescent mothers.

Study Design

Twenty participants who expressed IUD desire completed 4-5 qualitative interviews during the first postpartum year as part of a larger longitudinal study. Transcripts were analyzed for salient themes using a grounded theory approach to content analysis.


Twelve participants did not obtain IUDs and instead used condoms, used no method, or intermittently used hormonal methods, resulting in 3 repeat pregnancies. Outdated IUD eligibility requirements, long wait times, lack of insurance coverage, and fear of IUD-related side effects precluded or delayed uptake. Facilitators to IUD uptake included strong recommendations from providers or family members, planning for IUD during pregnancy, and perceived reproductive autonomy.


Postpartum adolescents may reduce their risk of rapid repeat pregnancy by using IUDs. Providers and members of adolescents' support networks can be instrumental in method adoption.

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