Why women do not use contraceptives: Exploring the role of male out-migration

Document Type

Article (peer-reviewed)

Publication Date



Introduction: Contextual understanding of reasons for non-use of contraceptives is key to devising family planning (FP) strategies. This study aimed to understand the reasons for non-use of contraceptives among women in the context of male out-migration. Methods: Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted in two high male out-migration districts in Bihar, namely Nawada and Gopalganj. Twenty-five FGDs were conducted with currently married women with migrant husbands, currently married men and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) during April-June 2019. Data were analysed by using a thematic approach through Atlas.ti-6.2. Results: The reasons for contraceptive non-use in areas with high male out-migration were complex, as this included barriers to contraceptive use unique to high-migration areas and reasons commonly found in other rural settings. Non-use of contraceptives among women with migrant husbands was mostly driven by lack of contraceptive preparedness before husband’s arrival, inability to procure contraceptives due to inaccessibility to health facilities and stigma to procure when husband was away. Other migration environment related factors included low ASHA outreach, myths and side effects of contraceptives, community fertility norms and poor spousal communications around FP. Conclusion: The reasons for non-use of contraceptives are multifaceted, complex and interlinked. Exploration of these reasons in migration context suggest that FP programs in migration affected areas need to address a range of barriers to contraceptive use at multiple levels.