1 Apr 2016

Teen Maori mothers struggling to get contraception

9:55 am on 1 April 2016

Teenage Maori mothers are struggling to get access to contraception because of barriers in the health system, a study has found.

Doctor

Teenage Maori mothers are struggling to get access to contraception (file photo) Photo: 123rf

Researchers from Otago University interviewed Maori women aged 14 to 19 who were trying to get post-pregnancy contraception.

Lead author Dr Bev Lawton said many of the women actively sought out implanted contraception, but could not get it.

"These women had a plan, they were actively seeking contraception, they knew what they wanted, but there were system barriers," she said.

Dr Bev Lawton.

Dr Bev Lawton. Photo: Supplied.

The women faced long delays, financial constraints and a lack of information from their midwives about who to talk to, and some fell pregnant again as a result, Dr Lawton said.

"The plan was in place, but by six weeks, the majority of these young women were not contracepting after pregnancy.

"The system issues were: costs to get these inserted, transport, finance and the fact that they weren't navigated to the right person to do it."

Having a six-week consultation with a GP post-pregnancy would be a good first step, Dr Lawton said.