Associations between contraceptive decision-making and marital contraceptive communication and use in rural Maharashtra, India

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Women's contraceptive decision-making control is crucial for reproductive autonomy, but research largely relies on the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) measure which asks who is involved with decision-making. In India, this typically assesses joint decision-making or male engagement. Newer measures emphasize female agency. We examined three measures of contraceptive decision-making, the DHS and two agency-focused measures, to assess their associations with marital contraceptive communication and use in rural Maharashtra, India. We analyzed follow-up survey data from women participating in the CHARM2 study (n = 1088), collected in June–December 2020. The survey included the DHS (measure 1), Reproductive Decision-Making Agency (measure 2), and Contraceptive Final Decision-Maker measures (measure 3). Only Measure 1 was significantly associated with contraceptive communication (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 2.75, 95 percent confidence interval [CI]: 1.69–4.49) and use (AOR: 1.73, 95 percent CI: 1.14–2.63). However, each measure was associated with different types of contraceptive use: Measure 1 with condom (adjusted relative risk ratio [aRRR]: 1.99, 95 percent CI: 1.12–3.51) and intrauterine device (IUD) (aRRR: 4.76, 95 percent CI: 1.80–12.59), Measure 2 with IUD (aRRR: 1.64, 95 percent CI: 1.04–2.60), and Measure 3 with pill (aRRR: 2.00, 95 percent CI: 1.14—3.52). Among married women in Maharashtra, India, male engagement in decision-making may be a stronger predictor of contraceptive communication and use than women's agency, but agency may be predictive of types of contraceptives used.