Published: 2021-10-27

Unmet need for contraception among eligible women of urban slums in Chennai

Jayashree Kalva, Arathi P. Rao, Prakash Narayanan


Background: Unmet need for family planning is a crucial indicator to assess demand for family planning programme. It was reported that women from the world’s poorest countries have a high unmet need for contraception. Unmet need is particularly high among immigrants, urban slum dwellers, and women in the post-partum period. The objective of this study was to assess the unmet need and factors influencing the unmet need for contraception among urban slum dwellers in Chennai, South India.

Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study of 375 married women was conducted among 50 urban slums of Chennai. Multistage random sampling was employed. About 6-9 women from each slum were interviewed. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to obtain data.

Results: The mean age of the participants was 32.1±7.3 years. The total unmet need was 13.8%, which included 9.3% for limiting and 4.5% spacing. The major reasons for contraception non-use among women with unmet need were no preference to use modern contraceptives (30.8%) and preference to get sterilized soon (21.2%). Age, education, religion, and number of living children were the factors associated with unmet need.

Conclusions: It was noted that unmet need reduced with age and increased number of living children. Though the unmet need is considerably low compared to other studies it is evident that women are still uncertain to use modern contraceptive methods for spacing and are more likely to undergo sterilization after their desired family size is achieved.


Unmet need, Contraceptive choices, Family planning, Unintended pregnancy, Urban slum

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