A common pitfall with PPIUD programs is failure to link services with consumer demand. Even with the best trained providers, lack of informed client demand for PPIUD can undermine a PPIUD program. Therefore, it is crucial to tailor client messages to the unique perspectives of the target audience.
Passively providing information on postpartum IUDs is unlikely to motivate many women to seek this service. Program planners should choose communication channels that reach and engage the audience—whether through testimonials of satisfied PPIUD clients or education activities with trusted local providers.
Similarly, messages need to be linked to concrete actions. It is not enough to tell women and their partners that PPIUDs are great—women need to know where they can go, and when, to access services. Personalized, interactive channels (such as a hotline or community IPC agent) can be especially effective in providing next-step information to potential clients.
Communicating benefits & addressing barriers to PPIUD
The following attributes of postpartum IUDs may serve as a starting point for communications activities. Of course, one size does not fit all, and program planners must explore what is important to the women in their target audience to create messages that resonate with them.
- Convenience. Clients are already at the health facility with a skilled provider who can provide PPIUD service.
- Lactation. An IUD will not interfere with the quantity or quality of breast milk.
- Comfort. PPIUD insertion creates minimal discomfort for the patient, as the cervix is already open and post-insertion side effects are masked by postpartum side effects (cramping/bleeding).
- Choice. The postpartum IUD provides an alternative to sterilization for couples interested in spacing or limiting future pregnancies.