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Margaret McConnell, Claire Watt Rothschild, Allison Ettenger, Faith Muigai, Jessica Cohen

Reducing Risky Birth Intervals through ‘Nudges’

Free contraception and behavioural nudges in the postpartum period: evidence from a randomised control trial in Nairobi, Kenya

Short birth intervals are a major risk factor for poor maternal and newborn outcomes. Utilisation of modern contraceptive methods during the postpartum period can reduce risky birth intervals but contraceptive coverage during this critical period remains low.

We conducted a randomized controlled experiment to test whether vouchers for free contraception, provided with and without behavioral ‘nudges’, could increase modern contraceptive use in the postpartum period.

The study concluded that reducing financial barriers to postpartum contraception alone may not be enough to encourage take-up. Programmes targeting the postpartum period should consider addressing behavioral barriers to take-up.

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