Contraceptive Use over the Reproductive Life Course
Edith E. Gray, Australian National University
Peter McDonald, Australian National University
This paper examines the contraceptive use of women in reproductive ages (18–44) using HILDA, a representative Australian survey. Previous research on contraceptive practice typically applies age as a proxy for reproductive history. We extend this research by examining parity and birth intentions. The most commonly used methods are the oral contraceptive pill (25%), condom (19%) and sterilisation (8% for female methods and 9% for male methods). Multivariate models are used to investigate the use of the three main contraceptive methods by parity and age controlling for socio-demographic factors. We also investigate how method practice varies by birth-timing intentions. Method use varies substantially by reproductive life course stage: women use more effective methods when they have completed their family. We argue that while age and other socio-demographic factors are useful for understanding contraceptive use, investigations should also consider parity and birth-timing intentions as measures of reproductive life course stage.