Birth Control: The Best Time to Be Told

After 15 years in operation, the Population Council has found that the most effective time to tell poor or ignorant young women about birth control is just after they have had a baby. Not only in India, but also in U.S. low-income strata, 10% of women become pregnant again within seven months after a live birth, and 20% within a year. After a stillbirth or abortion, with no nursing to reduce fertility, the interval can drop to as little as three months.

Conducting an experimental program in 25 hospitals in 14 countries, the...

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