Contraceptive practices before conception and after the birth of a child with a chronic health problem. Academic Article uri icon


  • Sexual and marital relations as well as family functioning may be altered by the birth of a child with a chronic health problem. After the birth of a child with a health problem, mothers have varied responses from an urgent desire to have another baby to a firm desire to avoid pregnancy. Mothers of healthy infants and mothers of infants who had been placed on apnea monitors for at least 5 months were surveyed on their contraceptive practices, family functioning, their marital satisfaction and sexual satisfaction, as well as their desire to have or not have another child. Surveys were conducted at 6 months and 12 months after delivery. The type of contraception used varied significantly between the two groups of mothers. There was an increase in the use of oral contraception after birth for the women whose infants were on apnea monitors. Frequency in the use of contraception varied between the two groups, with the mothers of healthy infants reporting more consistent use prior to the pregnancy, which was also more frequently planned than in the apnea group. Correlation matrices demonstrated a significant relationship between type of contraception and marital satisfaction, employment, and spousal support. The findings reinforce the need for health professionals to assist families in identifying how the birth of a child with chronic health problems has affected the family. Contraception counseling as well as marital counseling may be needed for some families.

published proceedings

  • Health Care Women Int

author list (cited authors)

  • Wilkerson, S., Quillin, S. I., & Feetham, S.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Wilkerson, S||Quillin, SI||Feetham, S

publication date

  • January 1994