Increased uptake of LARC postpartum could prevent more unintended pregnancies and short inter-birth intervals. GPs play a pivotal role in providing postpartum contraception at the 6-week postnatal visit.

Researchers did this study to explore how GPs view their role in delivering postpartum contraception at the 6-week visit and on providing LARC at this time.

The researchers conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 13 GPs in Edinburgh and Scotland’s surrounding region. The talks were audio-recorded, transcribed, and thematically analyzed.

GPs provided prescriptions for oral contraception at this visit, but the insertion of a contraceptive implant required a further appointment. For intrauterine contraception, women typically required two additional visits to the GP or were referred to a local sexual health service. Some GPs saw their role as the leading provider of postpartum contraception, whereas others felt they complemented midwives and health visitors’ actions.

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This study concluded that although contraception is discussed at a routine 6-week postpartum visit with a GP, there are delays for women wishing to commence LARC that create scope for unintended pregnancy. Researchers should explore strategies to facilitate access to LARC postpartum.

Reference: https://srh.bmj.com/content/42/2/99