Research Project

Postpartum factors affecting birth spacing and health outcomes

Maria Steenland is studying the effect of a new South Carolina Medicaid reimbursement policy that allows hospitals to provide long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) to women immediately after childbirth, extending her prior research on the topic. Short birth intervals are associated with adverse health outcomes. LARC methods are more effective than short-term contraceptive methods, and may lengthen birth intervals, but they can be difficult to obtain in the postpartum period. In a 2019 paper, Steenland found that the policy reduced the number of closely spaced births among recently pregnant adolescents in South Carolina.