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RHO archives : Topics : Contraceptive Methods

Annotated Bibliography

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Family Health International (FHI). Women's Voices, Women's Lives: The Impact of Family Planning. Research Triangle Park, North Carolina: FHI (1998). Available at:
This monograph highlights findings from 26 studies and secondary analyses in 14 countries from FHI's five-year Women's Studies Project on the effect of family planning on women's lives. It examines the impact of family planning on women's relationships with family, self-esteem, and participation in the work force and in economic development activities. The publication also addresses adolescents and reproductive rights/human rights.

Hatcher, R. et al. The Essentials of Contraceptive Technology: A Handbook for Clinic Staff. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Population Information Program; Center for Communication Programs; Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (July 1997). Cost: US$5 for orders from developed countries; no charge for orders from developing countries.
This book provides up-to-date, practical information about major contraceptive methods suitable for family planning and reproductive health care providers and other paramedical professionals. It covers contraceptive effectiveness, when to start methods, medical eligibility, etc. Common misconceptions and concerns about each method are addressed in a question-and-answer section at the end of each method chapter.

Huezo, C. and Carignan, C. Medical and Service Delivery Guidelines for Family Planning. London: International Planned Parenthood Federation Medical Publications, Second Edition (1997). Cost: US$20; may be requested free of charge.
These family planning guidelines are designed for program planners and managers and health care providers. They include: a guide for family planning service provision, a reference tool for assessing quality of care, and training and supervision outlines. New chapters in the second edition cover emergency contraception, pregnancy diagnosis, reproductive tract infections and sexually transmitted infections, and infection prevention and control.

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Family Planning Handbook for Health Professionals. London: International Planned Parenthood Federation Medical Publications (1997). Cost: US$24; may be requested free of charge.
This book is a reference for health care professionals who provide family planning education and services. It provides a thorough explanation of family planning methods and reproductive health services. It is designed to be used in conjunction with IPPF's Medical and Service Delivery Guidelines for Family Planning (see above).

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). IMAP statement on dual protection against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. IPPF Medical Bulletin 34(4) (August 2000). Available at: This statement was developed by the IPPF International Medical Advisory Panel at the May 2000 meeting. Key points are that (1) family planning associations should promote the concept and practice of dual protection; (2) consistent and correct use of condoms is highly effective for the prevention of both unwanted pregnancy and STI/HIV; and (3) clients may choose to use condoms alone for dual protection or to use them with another method.

Pathfinder International. Comprehensive Reproductive Health and Family Planning Training Curriculum. Watertown, Massachusetts: Pathfinder International, Medical Services Division (not dated). Available free of charge.
This curriculum for health service providers is divided into the following 15 modules: (1) Introduction/Overview, (2) Infection Prevention, (3) Counseling, (4) Combined Oral Contraceptives and Progestin-only Pills, (5) Emergency Contraceptive Pills, (6) DMPA Injectable Contraceptives, (7) Intrauterine Devices, (8) Lactational Amenorrhea and Breastfeeding Support, (9) Condoms and Spermicides, (10) Voluntary Surgical Contraception, (11) MVA for Treatment of Incomplete Abortion, (12) Reproductive Tract Infections, (13) Postpartum/Postabortion Complications, (14) Training of Trainers, and (15) Quality of Care. Each module contains assessment questions, skills checklists, trainer resources, participant materials, training evaluation tools, and a bibliography. 

Technical Guidance/Competence Working Group. Recommendations for Updating Selected Practices in Contraceptive Use. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, Program for International Training in Health (INTRAH), Volume 1 (1994), Volume 2 (1997) Available at: Available free of charge to personnel working in developing countries.
Endorsed by WHO, these recommendations on contraceptive use were developed to update procedural guidelines and to make them consistent with current clinical and epidemiological evidence.

World Health Organization (WHO). Contraceptive Method Mix: What Health Workers Need to Know. Geneva: WHO (1993). Available from WHO upon request.
This booklet provides practical information about the different contraceptive methods available to couples and the factors that influence a client's contraceptive choice. The importance of good client counseling is emphasized, as well as advice to clients at risk of sexually transmitted infections. Program activities needed to ensure that clients' preferences are met by appropriate services are discussed.

WHO. Health Benefits of Family Planning. Geneva: WHO Unit of Family Planning and Population, Division of Reproductive Health (1994). Available at:
Experience worldwide provides clear evidence that family planning benefits the health of women and children. This booklet summarizes key findings about the health benefits of family planning and explains how offering a choice of contraceptive methods benefits clients as well as programs. The booklet is addressed to policy makers, program manager, and community leaders. It offers concise, up-to-date information about the benefits of family planning and the need for adequate human and financial resources at all levels.

WHO. Providing an appropriate contraceptive method choice. What health workers need to know. WHO/MCH/FPP/93.3. Geneva: WHO (1993).
Family planning providers play an important role by helping clients select an appropriate method from the contraceptive method mix supplied by a program. Providing a variety of contraceptive methods and good quality care, including effective counseling, benefits both the client and the program. Clients benefit from a choice of contraceptives because they are more likely to find a method that meets their needs. This booklet reviews factors that affect a client's choice of contraceptive methods, provides an overview of contraceptive methods, and offers guidance about how providers can counsel effectively.

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WHO medical eligibility criteria

Blumenthal, P. and McIntosh, N. Pocket Guide for Family Planning Service Providers. 2nd edition. Baltimore: JHPIEGO Corporation (1998). Available at:
This clinical reference guide provides essential information on contraceptive methods for family planning providers based on the WHO medical eligibility criteria. Sections on counseling, client assessment, and client instructions also are provided. It can be used when immediate answers to questions about a client's condition or a contraceptive method are needed.

The INFO Project. WHO updates medical eligibility criteria for contraceptives. INFO Reports. 2004;1. Available at:
INFO Reports is a periodic journal featuring brief looks at special topics, important new research, and program developments in family planning and reproductive health. This first issue summarizes updates found in the 3rd edition of the Medical Eligibility for Contraceptive Use, including HIV/AIDS and contraceptive methods.

Johns Hopkins Population Information Program, Center for Communication Programs. Family planning methods: new guidance. Population Reports J(44) (October 1996). Available at:
This issue presents a condensation of the recommendations of the Technical Guidance/Competence Working Group for updating selected practices in contraceptive use. It also includes a table summarizing the World Health Organization's 1996 publication, "Improving access to quality care in family planning: medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use." (Johns Hopkins also provides the revised eligibility criteria in English, French, and Spanish at:

PATH. Improving contraceptive access: WHO reviews eligibility criteria for contraceptive use. Outlook. 1995;13(4):1-8. WHO eligibility criteria for contraceptive use: combined injectables and sterilization. Outlook. 1996;14(1):1-8.
This two-part series summarizes the World Health Organization's revised medical eligibility criteria for initiating use of contraceptive methods.

Technical Guidance/Competence Working Group. Recommendations for Updating Selected Practices in Contraceptive Use. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, Program for International Training in Health (INTRAH), Volume 1 (1994), Volume 2 (1997) Available at: Available free of charge to personnel working in developing countries.
This two-volume publication is the result of a collaboration among the World Health Organization, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and other organizations. It is organized by method or related issue, and presented in a question-and-answer format. It is designed for use as a reference and guidance tool for updating family planning service delivery guidelines on the basis of the most current clinical, epidemiological, and programmatic experiences.

World Health Organization (WHO). Medical Eligibility for Contraceptive Use. 3rd ed. Geneva: WHO; 2004. Available at:
This document is one of WHO’s two evidence-based guidelines on contraceptive use. It reviews the medical eligibility criteria for use of contraception, offering guidance on the safety of use of 19 different methods for women and men with specific characteristics or known medical conditions. It is the companion guide to WHO's Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use ( These documents aid program managers, the scientific community, and others in preparing service delivery guidelines.

WHO. Improving Access to Quality Care in Family Planning: Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use. Geneva: WHO (2002). Available at:
This World Health Organization document provides selected practice recommendations based on the best available evidence and is intended to be used by policy makers, programme managers, and the scientific community. First published in 1996, it was most recently updated in 2002. It aims to provide guidance to national family planning/reproductive health programs in the preparation of guidelines for service delivery of contraceptives.

WHO. Improving Access to Quality Care in Family Planning: A Guide for Providers. Geneva: World Health Organization (In Press 1998).
This companion document to WHO's 1996 publication, Improving Access to Quality Care in Family Planning: Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (see below), can be used by family planning and reproductive health care providers in day-to-day interactions with clients, co-workers, and supervisors. The guide summarizes essential, practical method-specific information, including how to use the methods, what side effects to expect, eligibility criteria for method use. It also includes sections on the family planning and reproductive health needs of special clients (including adolescents, postabortion and postpartum women, women age 35 and older, and others) and on gender issues in family planning clinics.

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Meeting needs through the life cycle

Anonymous.Contraception during breastfeeding; increasing access to oral contraception; OCs and sickle cells disease; OCs and headaches. Contraception Report 8(6) (January 1998).
This is a two-page insert that would be appropriate for client counseling. Noncopyrighted, free to reproduce.

PATH. Reproductive health: women in their middle years and beyond. Outlook. 1997;14(4):1-7. Available at:
This article presents information from a World Health Organization 1994 Scientific Group meeting on menopause research which made recommendations for research and clinical practice. It covers the physiology of menopause and related symptoms, health consequences of menopause, common reproductive health disorders associated with aging, practical health interventions that can be implemented to improve the reproductive health of the older woman, as well as contraception for older women and program implications.

World Health Organization (WHO). Post-Abortion Family Planning. A Practical Guide for Programme Managers. Geneva: WHO (1997). WHO/RHT/97.20. Available at: While the postpartum and postabortion periods are similar in some ways, there are a number of factors that differ and must be considered if effective programs are to be designed. Perhaps the most critical family planning distinction may be that postabortion women may face an immediate, acute, and possibly life-threatening medical problem. A woman suffering from abortion complications is both a "patient" in terms of her immediate medical situation, and a "client" with respect to family planning services. postabortion women experience a rapid return to fertility, whereas postpartum women's fertility return is delayed, especially for those who are breastfeeding.  Managers need to be aware that the simple existence of a combined postpartum/postabortion family planning program is rarely sufficient to meet the needs of both these distinct groups. This book provides an overview of the scope of the problem and the difference between postpartum and postabortion periods. Other important chapters address quality of care, clinical concerns, counseling issues, and issues in delivery of abortion treatment services.

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Services for people with chronic health problems

Family Health International (FHI). HIV-positive women have different needs. Network 20(4) (2001). Available at:
In areas where HIV prevalence is high, health care providers should discuss with clients how HIV can affect pregnancy and childbearing. Contraceptive counseling should include an evaluation of the clients risk for infection and a discussion of appropriate methods. Providers should emphasize that, aside from abstinence, consistent and correct condom use offers the best protection against STIs. This resource also discusses dual protection.

FHI. Chronic conditions influence method decisions; Chronic diseases and contraceptive use; Five common conditions: hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell disease, headaches, and epilepsy. Network 19(2) (Winter 1999). Available at:
Many women and men have chronic medical conditions that should be considered when they choose a contraceptive method or decide to have children. These three articles from the Chronic Conditions issue of Network provide an excellent review of considerations family planning providers should be aware of when counseling client's with a chronic condition. The first article provides an overview and introduces several important issues to consider. The second article provides a chart of contraceptive options that are appropriate to consider when counseling a client with various chronic health conditions. The third article focuses on contraceptive and health considerations important for five common health conditions.

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Use of contraception by HIV/infected women. IPPF Medical Bulletin 35(1) (February 2001). Available at:
Women who are infected with HIV may face a variety of reproductive health decisions based upon whether they want to prevent pregnancy, still desire pregnancy, or are currently pregnant. This article reviews contraceptive and reproductive health options that should be discussed with HIV-infected women. Consistent and correct male condom use is still the primary method available for both pregnancy prevention and reduction of HIV transmission among HIV-discordant couples. Female condoms have many similar advantages to male condoms. The ICPD has fostered greater interaction between family planning and STI/HIV prevention programs. The benefit is that clinicians now can deal more holistically with the reproductive health needs of their clients.

IPPF. IMAP statement on contraception for women with medical disorders. IMAP Medical Bulletin. 33(5) (October 1999). Available at:
This Bulletin reflects statements approved at the IMAP meeting in June 1999. For women with certain medical conditions, both pregnancy and contraception pose extra risks. Common medical conditions that require special attention from those offering contraceptive advice and services are reviewed—including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, convulsive disorders, migraine, liver disease, malignant disease, hematological disorders, infectious diseases, psychological disorders, and mental disabilities.

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