Contraceptive practices among unmarried women in China, 1982–2017: systematic review and meta-analysis

Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


Objective: Premarital sexual practices and contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) among unmarried women in China remain unclear. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate CPR and analyse contraceptive methods used by unmarried women between 1982 and 2017.

Methods: Wanfang, The China National Knowledge Infrastructure Database, MEDLINE, PubMed and Web of Science were systematically searched. Data on CPR and use of major contraceptive methods were extracted and pooled using a DerSimonian–Laird random effects model.

Results: Of 188 articles retrieved from five databases, 22 studies met our inclusion criteria. Overall CPR based on a random effects meta-analysis was 32.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 24.7%, 39.8%). Pooled rates of contraceptive use were 61.4% (95% CI 47.9%, 74.9%) for condoms, 25.9% (95% CI 14.5%, 37.4%) for pills, 19.8% (95% CI 8.9%, 30.8%) for the rhythm method and 25.4% (95% CI 14.2%, 36.7%) for the withdrawal method.

Conclusions: The sexual and reproductive health situation of unmarried women in China seems to have improved little since the 1990s. Our findings may help to optimise reproductive health care programmes and thereby reduce the alarming rates of unplanned pregnancies and abortions among unmarried women in China.

Publication (Name of Journal)

European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care