Barriers to use contraceptive methods among rural young married couples in Maharashtra, India: Qualitative findings

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Introduction: In rural India contraceptive use remains uncommon among newly married couples. non-use in rural young couples contributes to higher fertility rates. Objectives: To identify barriers of spacing contraceptive use among young married couples in rural Maharashtra. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with husbands (N=30), wives (N=20), and village health providers (N=12); additionally, 3 focus groups were conducted with mothers of husbands (N= 42 focused on understanding contraceptive use and barriers. Interviews and focus groups ranged in length from 90–120 minutes. Detailed notes taken during interviews were analysed using a grounded theory approach and the data was analysed using atlas-ti software. Results: Major barriers to spacing contraception are: pro-natal social norms, pregnancy expectations early in marriage, to produce multiple sons, limited access to modern spacing contraceptives, family resistance to adopt contraceptives, lack of husband's involvement on family planning issues, myths, misconceptions, perceived side effects and negative attitudes towards specific contraceptives. Conclusion: Findings highlight the intersection of norms against spacing contraception, traditional gender ideologies and lack of male involvement as major barriers to the use of contraception. Male oriented outreach programmes on family planning Promoting gender equity should be made through health programme deliveries with special focus in rural areas.