Family Planning Practice in Unintended Pregnancy: Rural Women in Bangladesh

Author(s) Forhana Noor1, Ubaidur Rob2
Affiliation(s) 1Reproductive Health, Population Council, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2Reproductive Health, Population Council, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Country - ies of focus Bangladesh
Relevant to the conference tracks Women and Children
Summary This article explores how family planning methods have contributed to unintended pregnancy among the rural women in Bangladesh. The study was a cross-sectional survey of 3,300 women. Findings suggest that among the respondents about 29 percent of the pregnancies were unintended. Analysis was found that those who did not use contraceptive methods before their last pregnancy had reduced odds (OR=0.22) of experiencing unintended pregnancy compared to those who used modern contraceptive methods. Advocacy is needed to promote longer acting and permanent methods among the eligible couples to avoid unintended pregnancy.
Background In Bangladesh most of the reproductive health programs are directed towards improving maternal health and family planning. These efforts lead to the decline of maternal mortality by 40% from 322 deaths in 2001 to 194 deaths in 2010 per 100000 live births, which may be attributable to remarkable progress in fertility decline, from a high level of 6.3 births per woman in the mid-1970s to 2.3 births per woman in 2011. Contraceptive use rate has also increased from only 8 in 1975 to 61 in 2011. Despite these recent achievements, maternal mortality still remains one of the prime challenges and also unintended pregnancy remained same for last three decades. Unintended pregnancy is typically exposed to the risk of abortion. In Bangladesh, abortion-related complications contribute to about one-fourth of all maternal deaths. Besides this, the rate of unintended pregnancy is also one of the most basic measures of the situation of women's reproductive health, and of the level of women’s autonomy and capacity for self-determination. It signifies a woman’s capacity to determine whether and when to have pregnancies.
Objectives According to 2011 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS), in Bangladesh, 30 percent of pregnancies were unintended. The total intended fertility rate was 1.6 which is quite lower than the total fertility rate (TFR) 2.3. This means that if all unintended pregnancies could be eliminated, the TFR would drop below the replacement level of fertility immediately. High discontinuation rate, low use of long acting and permanent methods, erroneous use of family planning methods and unmet needs of family planning, in part or combined all contribute to the incidence of unintended pregnancies. Considering the situation, this article explores how family planning methods have contributed to unintended pregnancy among the rural women in Bangladesh.
Methodology This article used data from the follow-up survey of evaluation of the Reproductive Health Voucher Evaluation project in Bangladesh. It was a quasi-experimental research design with pre and post studies in intervention and control areas and the assignment to the intervention was non random. It was conducted in 22 sub-districts where 11 sub-districts were selected as intervention areas. The other 11 sub-districts were selected as control areas. In this study a baseline survey was conducted in 2010 and a follow-up survey was conducted in 2012. A total of 3,300 women of 18-49 years of age were interviewed who gave birth in the previous 12 months from the starting date of data collection. Respondents’ socioeconomic and demographic characteristics as well as service utilization and perception of each service were collected by using a structured questionnaire in this survey. In this article, both bi-variate and multivariate analyses were used to examine strength of the relationship between the unintended pregnancy and use of family planning methods.
Results Findings suggest that among the respondents (women) 68 percent wanted to become pregnant, 20 percent women wanted to wait or mistimed and another 12 percent did not want children any more. In other words, about 32 percent of the pregnancies were unintended. It was found that almost fifty percent (49 percent) of respondents were using a contraceptive method before their last pregnancy. Among them only one percent used a traditional method and rest 48 percent used a modern contraceptive method. Interestingly, the women who used (49 percent) any contraceptive before their last pregnancy, among them 46 percent experienced unintended pregnancy. On the other hand, non-users (51 percent) of contraceptive methods reported relatively lower proportion of unintended pregnancy (20 percent). The rate of unintended pregnancy also varied according to the use of contraceptive methods. The proportion of unintended pregnancy was comparatively higher among injectable users (51 percent) as compared to other method users.Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the odds of unintended pregnancy for each of the risk factors controlling for the others. It was found that those who did not use contraceptive methods before their last pregnancy had a reduced odds (OR=0.22) of experiencing unintended pregnancy compared to those who used modern contraceptive methods. Among contraceptive users, the likelihood of reporting unintended pregnancy was 1.6 times higher among the women who used traditional method as compared to modern contraceptive method users.
Conclusion Findings suggest that the unintended pregnancy rate was higher among the contraceptive users before their last pregnancy than non-users. Again, the rate was higher among traditional and temporary modern method users as compared to longer acting modern method users. From several studies it has been explored whether the incidence of unintended pregnancy might decline more slowly than expected, and might even rise for a while, as countries move through the fertility transition. So, it can be assumed that the improvement of quality of family planning services is likely to decrease the level of unintended pregnancies in the future and advocacy is needed to promote longer acting and permanent methods among eligible couples to avoid unintended pregnancy.

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