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Reproductive Health

Worldwide, 225 million women currently wish to delay or prevent pregnancy, yet do not use contraceptives. The reasons for non-use are complex, involving social, cultural and economic barriers, fears about side effects, and lack of access to a trusted provider. Greater access to family planning will be vital to achieving global goals in maternal health and child survival.

Our strategic approach for family planning (FP) centers on accelerating achievements toward Family Planning 2020 and Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths goals by preventing unintended pregnancies, particularly those with poorer health outcomes. This includes pregnancies occurring too soon after a birth, among high-parity women, and among older or adolescent mothers.

MCSP’s key strategies include:

  • Strengthening and scaling up postpartum family planning (PPFP) and integration of FP along the maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) continuum of care;
  • Expanding method choice, including long-acting methods, in FP and PPFP settings; and
  • Reaching girls, their partners and gatekeepers — whether they are mothers already or not — with appropriately targeted FP information and services (and MNCH care).

Innovative approaches to increase service availability, access, quality, demand, equity and utilization cross-cut FP interventions and build on prior learning regarding effective integration of FP with delivery of other health services.

MCSP provides leadership to expand access to high-quality contraceptive services and serves as a global convening authority for documentation of best practices in FP/reproductive health programs. We advocate for and generate evidence around successful models that ensure every contact with a woman triggers a conversation about her reproductive intentions. At both health facility and community levels — in the context of care-seeking for herself or for her child — the aim is to link women to contraceptive services whenever an unmet need is identified.

Pregnancies in youth and adolescents are linked with more adverse outcomes for both mothers and infants, including preterm birth, low birth weight, and perinatal and neonatal mortality. Moreover, rapid repeat pregnancies are more common in adolescents.

To prevent pregnancies and closely spaced births in this age group, MCSP develops interventions for adolescent and first-time parents, and equips providers to serve these women in their care. This includes an age and stage counseling package covering healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, PPFP, gender-equitable FP decision-making (involving males and other gatekeepers), breastfeeding support, and infant care.

To download MCSP’s reproductive health fact sheet, click here.

Key Facts

  • Worldwide, 60% of women over 30 years old use contraceptives, and 22% of adolescents use birth control.
  • If all women waited 36 months to conceive again, 26% of under-five deaths would be averted.
  • If these same women only gave birth between the ages of 18 and 39 and had no more than three children, child mortality would be reduced by 30%.