Leveraging the Client-Provider Interaction to Address Contraceptive Discontinuation: A Scoping Review of the Evidence That Links Them


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Despite considerable investment and effort, unmet need for contraception remains an obstacle to improved family planning outcomes. One influencing factor is the frequency of contraceptive discontinuation among users who desire to prevent pregnancy, often due to method-related concerns and side effects. Contraceptive users have the right to be supported during counseling to voluntarily choose methods that align with their individual needs and preferences. Contraceptive counseling, as a key component of quality of care, is particularly important for providers to reduce unmet need among their clients. This scoping review examined the state of the evidence on contraceptive counseling and its impact on discontinuation. The review first examines the association between quality of care and contraceptive discontinuation, then looks to what the current body of evidence suggests are women’s contraceptive counseling priorities, and lastly, explores whether specific counseling tools and approaches have been evaluated with discontinuation as an outcome. The results identified general principles and priorities for good counseling including person-centeredness, client-tailored information exchange, clear and concise information on side effects and bleeding changes, reducing providers’ implicit and explicit biases, and trust and respect between the client and provider. The review of the literature also found that evidence to support the use of specific counseling tools and approaches to reduce contraceptive discontinuation is insufficient; research should be designed to determine which specific elements of the client-provider interaction can be improved to significantly impact contraceptive discontinuation. This evidence could inform how the global community of practice might improve and leverage specific counseling approaches and tools to address the most common predictors of discontinuation.