[Contraception: gypsy versus non-gypsy women]

Aten Primaria. 1999 Feb 15;23(2):63-7.
[Article in Spanish]


Objective: To find the contraceptive methods used or known by women of fertile age, and find differences between gypsy and non-gypsy women.

Design: Descriptive study.

Setting: Primary care centre in El Prat de Llobregat (Barcelona).

Participants: Women of fertile age, who were sexually active and did not wish to become pregnant, and who attended the centre for any reason.

Measurements: From March to August 1997, a survey was conducted in which personal data, number of sexual contacts, parity, use and knowledge of contraceptive methods, if and where their method is monitored, and satisfaction with their method were asked.

Results: 186 non-gypsy and 126 gypsy women answered the survey. The gypsy women knew less about barrier contraception (diaphragm p < 0.0001); IUD p = 0.0003; spermicides p = 0.001), periodic abstention (p = 0.002) and definitive methods (vasectomy p < 0.0001; tubal occlusion p = 0.0004). The commonest method used by the gypsy women was coitus interruptus (p = 0.0002). Gypsy women asked for less contraceptive advice and had less monitoring of their method (p = 0.001). They had more pregnancies which led to a greater number of live children (p < 0.0001) and induced abortions (p = 0.01). They lived more often with their sexual partner (p = 0.0005).

Conclusions: Gypsy women know about safe methods but do not use them. They ask less for contraceptive advice and have more induced abortions. There should be family planning programmes aimed at this group, whose cultural and family features are distinct.

PIP: 186 non-Gypsy and 126 Gypsy women attending a primary care center in Barcelona for any reason during March-August 1997 were surveyed regarding personal characteristics and contraceptive knowledge and usage to assess differences between the two groups. The women were of fertile age, sexually active, and did not desire pregnancy. 92% had a regular sexual partner. 83% of the Gypsies and 65% of the others lived with the partner. The average relationship duration was 9.6 years for both groups. The most used contraceptive method was the condom for non-Gypsy women (36%) and withdrawal for Gypsy women (23%). Oral contraceptives and IUDs were the second and third most widely used for both groups, respectively. 18% of Gypsies and 4% of non-Gypsies currently used no method. The Gypsy women had significantly less knowledge of barrier methods, IUDs, spermicides, periodic continence, vasectomy, or tubal occlusion. Gypsy women were significantly less likely to seek contraceptive advice or monitoring of their contraceptive usage. The median number of induced abortions reported was 0.2 for Gypsy and 0.1 for non-Gypsy women. It was concluded that family planning programs should be tailored to promote use of effective contraceptive methods among Gypsy women, who have distinct cultural and family traits.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Contraception / methods
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data
  • Contraception Behavior / ethnology*
  • Contraception Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Roma* / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Behavior / ethnology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spain