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2021 Major Report

Reproductive health: Contraception, conception, and change of life – Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

As women, reproductive health is an ever-present part of our lives; demanding attention from our first period until well beyond menopause. It is intrinsically linked to our physical and mental health, socioeconomic status, ability to work, and quality of life. Issues like contraceptive access, unwanted pregnancies, reproductive disorders, infertility, childbirth, and the menopause transition, take an emotional and physical toll on women that ripples out to have huge social and economic ramifications.

The Reproductive Health Report was commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health and developed in consultation with stakeholders. The Report is designed to act as an evidence base for policymakers and advocates and offers detailed insights into reproductive health trends and at-risk populations across multiple generations of Australian women.

View the chapter summaries

Contraception, Conception, and Change of Life
Highlights from the ALSWH Reproductive Health Report
  • Trends in contraception – A review and comparison of the uptake of different methods of contraception in the 1973-78 and 1989-95 cohorts. And an in-depth analysis of how socioeconomic factors, demographic factors, and reproductive events (birth, miscarriage and termination) shape women’s use of contraceptives.
  • LARCs – An in-depth examination of women’s use of Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC).
  • The Pill – Trends and factors related to women’s short and long term use of the Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP).
  • Pregnancy and ART – Patterns of pregnancy and issues related to pregnancy including the prevalence of PCOS, Endometriosis, and related fertility problems. The Report also examines womens use of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) including their demographics, age at treatment, number of cycles, and associated costs.
  • Perinatal mental health – Rates and effectiveness of perinatal mental health screening, the rising prevalence of perinatal anxiety and depression in the 1989-95 cohort, and the rate and impact of traumatic births.
  • Menopause – Updated findings from the Study concerning the menopause transition. The impact of age at menopause and menopausal symptoms on health outcomes.
  • Covid 19 and Family Planning – The impact of COVID-19 on family planning and contraceptive choices during 2020.

Download the ALSWH Reproductive Health Report

Cover thumbnail of the ALSWH 2021 report on Reproductive Health


Reproductive health: Contraception, conception, and change of life – Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health
Loxton D, Byles J, Tooth L, Barnes I, Byrnes E, Cavenagh D, Chung H-F, Egan N, Forder P, Harris M, Hockey R, Moss K, Townsend N & Mishra GD.
Report prepared for the Australian Government Department of Health, May 2021.

ISBN: 978-1-76007-460-9