The use of contraception by women with intellectual disabilities

Henny M. J. van Schrojenstein Lantman-de Valk*, F. Rook, M. A. Maaskant

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background Worldwide, contraception is frequently used by women for the prevention of conception, to regulate or postpone menstrual bleeding. The study aims to determine the use (number and method) of contraception by women with intellectual disabilities (ID), the indications, sources of referrals and relations with level of ID and age of the women concerned. Methods The study group consisted of 234 women aged between 15 and 59 years and residing at a Dutch service provider for persons with ID. Data were obtained via the pharmacy database, attending physicians and individual medical files. Results Nearly one half (48%, n = 112) of the 234 residential women used some method of contraception: 87 (78%) took pharmacological contraceptive methods, 23 (20%) underwent surgical contraception and 2 (2%) both. Main reasons for contraception were problems with menstruation, behaviour and/or prevention of pregnancy. Requests for contraception were initiated mainly by physicians and parents. Differences between users of different contraceptives with regard to age and level of ID were not statistically significant. Conclusions Further studies should focus on the development and implementation of adequate health promotion materials on this subject.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-440
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • contraceptives
  • indications
  • intellectual disabilities
  • requestors
  • women

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