First family planning visits by young women

W. D. Mosher, M. C. Horn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Data from the 1982 National Survey of Family Growth indicate that among sexually active women aged 15-24, friends and parents are the main sources of referral for first family planning visits. Friends are the leading referral source for women who attend clinics, and parents are the leading referral source for those who go to private doctors. Despite the importance of confidentiality to many teenagers, women who make their first family planning visit before the age of 17 are more likely to be referred by their parents than are those whose first visit occurs when they are 17 or older. Race, age at first visit and income influence women's choice of a provider (clinic or private doctor). Black women, low-income women and younger women are considerably more likely than their counterparts to use a clinic at first family planning visit. At their first visit, sixty-seven percent of women receive birth control counseling, and only 50 percent begin using a contraceptive method. Among clinic users, white women are more likely than black women to begin a birth control method (50 percent vs. 40 percent). Women whose first visit takes place before their first conception (including those who have never been pregnant) are much more likely than women whose first visit occurs after their first pregnancy ends to begin a method. Women who make their first visit during their first pregnancy are more likely than those who are not pregnant to receive a pregnancy test or counseling on matters other than birth control. Multivariate analysis shows that the timing of the visit in relation to the first pregnancy is a very important determinant of services received at first visit. Only 17 percent of young women who have ever had intercourse make their first planning visit before first intercourse, and 10 percent make their first visit in the same month as first intercourse. For the remaining 73 percent of women, the median delay between first intercourse and first visit is 23 months. Even women whose second intercourse occurs within one month of first intercouse experience a median delay from first intercourse to first visit of 19 months.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalFamily Planning Perspectives
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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