Examining women's reproductive experiences over time reveals a more dynamic view of women's behaviors and needs than current status measures alone. This study uses sequence and cluster analyses, which are designed for identifying patterns and subgroups in longitudinal data. We apply these methods to contraceptive calendar data in Burundi to identify discrete clusters of women based on contraceptive and pregnancy behaviors over the past 5 years. We identify six unique clusters; three characterized by no use of contraception (85 percent of women) and three by use (16 percent). The Quiet Calendar cluster (42 percent) comprise women who neither experience pregnancy nor use contraception. Family Builder 1 (25 percent) and 2 (18 percent) both include women who experience two pregnancies, but differ in unmet need and lifetime experience with contraception. Modern Mother (8 percent), Consistently Covered Mother (6 percent), and Traditional Mother (2 percent) clusters differ by type of contraception used following pregnancy. Factors associated with cluster membership are need for family planning, lifetime experience with contraception, marital status, pregnancy intention, and age. This clustering approach provides a new, more holistic way to measure the diverse needs across unique subpopulations and can inform the development of multifaceted, adaptable strategies to meet women's dynamic fertility needs over the reproductive life course.
Published in a peer-reviewed journal of the Population Council.