Skip to main content Accessibility help


  • EDITH GRAY (a1) and PETER McDONALD (a1)

This paper examines contraceptive method use at different stages of the reproductive life course. Previous research on contraceptive practice in developed countries typically applies age as a proxy for reproductive history. While age is an essential and useful life course measure for understanding contraceptive use, investigations of contraceptive practice should also consider parity and fertility intentions, as they may be more accurate measures of reproductive life course stage. Analysis is based on data collected in the 2005 Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, a nationally representative sample of women of reproductive age (18–44). For women at risk of pregnancy, the most commonly used methods are easily reversed methods such as the oral contraceptive pill (30%) and condom (23%), medium-term methods such as the intrauterine device and implantation (5%) and permanent methods (7% tubal ligation and 9% vasectomy of partner). Logistic regression models are used to investigate the use of four popular contraceptive methods by parity, age and fertility intentions controlling for socio-demographic factors. The main findings indicate that the use of these methods varies substantially by the stage of a woman's reproductive life course: age, parity and fertility intentions are all associated with method use.

Hide All
Banerjee, S. (2006) Higher Education and the Reproductive Life Course: A Cross-Cultural Study of Women in Karnataka (India) and the Netherlands. Dutch University Press, Amsterdam.
Caldwell, J., Young, C., Ware, H., Lavis, D. & David, A-T. (1973) Australia: knowledge, attitudes, and practice of family planning in Melbourne, 1971. Studies in Family Planning 4, 4959.
Elder, G. H. Jr (1983) The life course and aging: challenges, lessons and new directions. In Setterson, R. (ed.) Invitation to the Life Course. Baywood Publishing, New York, pp. 4971.
Foran, T. (2003) New contraceptive choices across reproductive life. Medical Journal of Australia 178, 616620.
Goode, A. & Watson, N. (eds) (2007) HILDA User Manual – Release 5.0. University of Melbourne, Melbourne.
Harevan, T. K. (1982) Family Time and Historical Time. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Hosseini-Chavoshi, M. (2007) Fertility regulation in Iran: an analysis of trends, levels and correlates. PhD Thesis, Australian National University, Canberra.
INFO Project (2006) New Attention to the IUD: Expanding Women's Contraceptive Options to Meet Their Needs. Population Reports: Series B, No. 7. Baltimore. URL:
Khatun, M. (2005) Contraceptive Use Dynamics. Dutch University Press, Amsterdam.
Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (MIAESR) (2007) HILDA Survey Annual Report 2006. University of Melbourne, Melbourne.
Parr, N. & Siedlecky, S. (2007) Use of ‘dual protection’ and other combinations of contraceptive methods in Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 31, 567570.
Richters, J., Grulich, A., de Visser, R., Smith, A. & Rissel, C. (2003) Contraceptive practices among a representative sample of women. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 27, 210216.
Santow, G. (1991) Trends in contraception and sterilization in Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 3, 201208.
Settersten, R. A. (2009) It takes two to tango: the (un)easy dance between life-course sociology and life-span psychology. Advances in Life Course Research 14, 7481.
Yusuf, F. & Siedlecky, S. (2007) Patterns of contraceptive use in Australia: analysis of the 2001 National Health Survey. Journal of Biosocial Science 39, 735744.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Biosocial Science
  • ISSN: 0021-9320
  • EISSN: 1469-7599
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-biosocial-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed