Levels, trends and correlates of unmet need for family planning among postpartum women in Indonesia: 2007–2015

Siswanto Agus Wilopo, Althaf Setyawan, Anggriyani Wahyu Pinandari, Titut Prihyugiarto, Flourisa Juliaan, Robert J Magnani

Levels, trends and correlates of unmet need for family planning among postpartum women in Indonesia: 2007–2015

Although Indonesia has relatively high contraceptive prevalence, postpartum family planning (PP-FP) has not been a particular point of emphasis. This article reports the results of analyses undertaken in order to (1) better understand levels and trends in unmet need for family planning among postpartum women, (2) assess the extent to which unmet need is concentrated among particular population sub-groups, and (3) assess the policy priority that PP-FP should have in relation to other interventions.

The analyses were based on data from the 2007 and 2012 Indonesia Demographic and Health Surveys (IDHS) and the 2015 PMA2020 survey. Postpartum contraceptive use and unmet need were analyzed for fecund women who had given birth in the 3–5 years of preceding the respective surveys who were in the extended postpartum period at the time of the respective surveys. Factors associated with contraceptive use and unmet were assessed via multivariable logistic regressions using merged data from all three surveys. A wide range of biologic, demographic, socio-economic, geographic and programmatic factors were considered.

Contraceptive use during the extended postpartum period is high in Indonesia, with more than 74% of post-partum women reporting currently using a family planning method in the 2015 PMA2020 survey. This is up from 68% in 2007 and 70% in 2012. Total unmet need was 28% in 2007, falling slightly to 23% in 2012 and 24% in 2015. However, the timing of contraceptive initiation is less than optimal. By six months postpartum, only 50% of mothers had begun contraceptive use. Unmet need was highest among older women, women with 4+ children, with limited knowledge of contraceptive methods, making fewer ANC visits, from poor families and residents of islands other than Java and Bali.

Unmet need for family planning among postpartum women in Indonesia is low in comparison with other low- and middle-income countries. However, because of limited durations of exclusive breastfeeding, many Indonesian women do not initiate contraception early enough after delivering children. Given already high contraceptive prevalence, targeting postpartum women for increased programmatic attention would seem strategically prudent.