Social and clinical correlates of postpartum sterilization in the United States, 1972 and 1980

W. D. Mosher, K. G. Keppel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This analysis is based on the 1972 and 1980 National Natality Surveys, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. About 10.6 percent (381,000) of women in the United States who delivered live infants in 1980 were sterilized postpartum. About 93 percent of these postpartum sterilizations were tubal operations; only 1.4 percent were hysterectomies. Because the literature on the health correlates of sterilization is sparse, this analysis was exploratory. In both 1972 and 1980, married mothers were more likely to be sterilized postpartum if they had previous fetal losses, underlying medical conditions, complications of pregnancy, or a cesarean delivery. Inspection of more detailed tabulations reveals that repeat cesarean delivery, multiparity, diabetes and at the higher birth orders, excess weight gain, and toxemia preeclampsia were associated with postpartum sterilization. An apparent association with varicosity may be due to misreporting. The degree to which each of these associations is causal or spurious awaits further research, but preliminary analysis suggests that some maternal health factors may influence some sterilization decisions. Beyond these specific maternal health conditions and complications, the evidence for a connection between poor maternal health and sterilization is equivocal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-138
Number of pages11
JournalPublic health reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Social and clinical correlates of postpartum sterilization in the United States, 1972 and 1980'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this