Differentials of spousal communications and reproductive desires of couples in urban slums of Chandigarh, India
Keywords:Improvident maternity, Intended contraceptive use, Reproductive behaviour, Spousal communication, Undesired pregnancy, Unplanned pregnancy
Background: There may be conflicting responses of women and men regarding reproductive decisions. However, little is known about differentials of inter-personal communications between husbands and wives and their reproductive desires. Objectives of the study were, to investigate interpersonal communications between women and spouses regarding reproductive aspects and differentials of their reproductive desires. Also, to evaluate impact of improving spousal communications and other interventions on reproductive desires of partners.
Methods: Community-based cluster randomized interventional study conducted in urban slums of Chandigarh covering 667 women in reproductive ages and their spouses. Study variables include, socio-cultural and demographic characteristics, reproductive behaviour, contraceptive awareness and use interpersonal communications.
Results: Based on opinions of women, 78.7% couples in baseline survey and 84.9% couples in post interventional survey took decisions regarding timing of first child jointly. Last pregnancy was not desired by 38.4% women and 40.0% of their spouses. In the baseline survey 162 (24.3%) women and 161 (24.1%) men wanted to wait for next pregnancy. About 65% couples in the baseline survey and 71% couples in the post intervention survey agreed to accept unplanned pregnancies. Inter-personal relationships between husbands and wives were reportedly good by 92.1% couples in spite of male dominance in fertility related decisions.
Conclusions: Reproductive decisions like timings of first child, number of children, gap between successive pregnancies, choice and use of contraceptives, abortion of unwanted pregnancy etc. were taken jointly by couples. Couples should be encouraged for better spousal communications and taking joint decisions for attainment of desired reproductive health outcomes.
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