ACOG Committee Opinion, Number 827: Access to Postpartum Sterilization


Sterilization is one of the most effective and popular forms of contraception in the United States, relied upon by 18.6% of women aged 15–49 years using contraception. Nearly half of procedures are performed during the postpartum period, yet many women who desire postpartum sterilization do not actually undergo the procedure. Factors that may decrease the likelihood of a patient obtaining desired postpartum sterilization include patient-related factors, physician-related factors, lack of available operating rooms and anesthesia, federal consent requirements, and receiving care in some religiously affiliated hospitals. In all discussions and counseling regarding contraception, including postpartum sterilization, it is important to engage in shared decision making while supporting personal agency and patient autonomy. Equitable access to postpartum sterilization is an important strategy to ensure patient-centered care while supporting reproductive autonomy and justice when it comes to decisions regarding family formation. This revision includes updates on barriers to postpartum sterilization and guidance for contraceptive counseling and shared decision making.

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000004381