Motivational interviews to improve contraceptive use in populations at high risk of unintended pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Objective: Effective contraceptive use has the potential to prevent around 230 million births each year. An estimated 222 million women want to delay pregnancy or cease childbearing, but are not actively using contraception. Lack of education is a known barrier for effective contraceptive use.
Motivational interviews are presumed to improve effective contraceptive use, but studies to date report varied findings. Some studies demonstrate an improvement and others report no effect.
Study Design: A systematic review of evidence on the impact of motivational interviews on contraceptive use in women of childbearing age was carried out using MEDLINE, EMBASE, BNI, Cochrane library, CINHAL, African Index Medicus, Web of Science, the Reproductive Health Library, and the Science Citation Index (inception-January 2013) without language restriction. Search terms
included ‘motivational interview* AND contraception OR family planning OR maternal OR pregnancy’. Randomised controlled trials comparing the effect of motivational interviews with standard practice on effective contraception use in women of reproductive age were included. The outcome measures were use of effective contraception or use of high-level contraception, and subsequent births or pregnancies. The random effects model was used to pool the risk ratios from
individual studies.
Results: Eight randomised controlled trials were included in the review with a total of 3424 women at high risk of pregnancy. Meta-analysis showed an increase in effective contraceptive use with motivational interviews when compared with control (RR 1.32 95%CI 1.11, 1.56: P=0.002) in the
period of zero to four months post intervention. No difference in effective contraceptive use was shown at four to eight months (RR 1.10, 95%CI 0.93, 1.32: P=0.27), and between eight to twelve months (RR 1.18 95%CI 0.96, 1.46: P=0.12). No evidence of effect in the reduction of subsequent pregnancies or births at twelve to twenty-four months was seen with motivational interviews (RR
0.80 95%CI 0.51, 1.26. P=0.34).
Conclusion: Motivational interviews significantly increase effective contraceptive use immediately after and up to four months post-intervention. The effect without reinforcement is short lasting as no evidence of effect is seen after four months post-intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-79
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Early online date11 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Motivational interviews; Contraception; Family Planning; Pregnancy


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