Reasons Behind the Unmet Need for Contraception in Developing Countries

Gilda Sedgh, Guttmacher Institute
Rubina Hussain, Guttmacher Institute
Akinrinola Bankole, Guttmacher Institute
Susheela D. Singh, Guttmacher Institute

Unmet need has been adopted as an indicator of progress toward the UN MDGs. Little is known about reasons for nonuse among women with unmet need. We examine these reasons and factors associated with them in 39 developing countries. We also explore factors associated with women’s willingness to use contraception in the future. The two most common reasons for nonuse are concerns about the health risks or side effects of methods and the perception of not being at risk of getting pregnant. Few women were unaware of contraception. Women over 25 and women who used contraception in the past were especially likely to cite concerns about methods. The intention to use a method is particularly low among women who are concerned about health and side effects. Programs have successfully raised women’s awareness about contraception, but they must work to resolve growing concerns about unacceptable health risks and side effects.

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Presented in Session 115: The Relationship between Fertility and Family Planning