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Retrospective vs. Prospective Coital Frequency and Menstrual Cycle Length in a Contraceptive Effectiveness Trial

Citation

Steiner, Markus J.; Hertz-Picciotto, Irva; Taylor, Doug; Schoenbach, Victor J.; & Wheeless, Angie (2001). Retrospective vs. Prospective Coital Frequency and Menstrual Cycle Length in a Contraceptive Effectiveness Trial. Annals of Epidemiology, 11(6), 428-433.

Abstract

Purpose: To determine how well information at enrollment would predict coital frequency and menstrual segment length during a prospective contraceptive effectiveness trial.
Methods: We compared retrospective reports of monthly coital frequency and menstrual segment (cycle) length with prospective information for women participating in a contraceptive trial of the Reality((R)) female condom.
Results: Participants reported slightly higher mean monthly coital frequency and slightly longer menstrual segments prior to the study than during the study (12.6 acts vs. 12.0 acts per month and 30.8 days vs. 28.4 days). We examined the actual distribution of differences between the retrospective and prospective measures and found considerable variability. Among the 195 participants studied, parous women were less likely to predict accurately menstrual segment length (OR 0.4; 95% CI 0.3--0.9), while older women were more likely to predict accurately coital frequency (OR 1.9; 95% CI 0.9--3.3).
Conclusions: Coital frequency and menstrual segment length vary considerably over time. Hence, prospective data collection is essential to accurately characterize these variations and to properly interpret results from contraceptive trials and other studies concerned with fecundability and hazards of reproduction.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s1047-2797(01)00248-4

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2001

Journal Title

Annals of Epidemiology

Author(s)

Steiner, Markus J.
Hertz-Picciotto, Irva
Taylor, Doug
Schoenbach, Victor J.
Wheeless, Angie