In-depth interviews were conducted with married Asian women from Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, to investigate patterns of contraceptive use and influences on contraceptive decision making. The results show two distinctively different contraceptive 'lifecycles'. Non-professional women typically have little knowledge about contraception until after their marriage or first birth. Their patterns of contraceptive behaviour show low levels of contraceptive use until after their first birth, when condom use is most prevalent. Non-professional women are influenced by their extended family, religion and cultural expectations on their fertility and family planning decisions. Professional women show an entirely different pattern of contraceptive behaviour. They are more likely to have knowledge about contraception before marriage, use some method of contraception throughout their childbearing years (typically the pill) and cite personal, practical or economic considerations in their fertility decisions rather than religious, cultural or extended family influences.
PIP: In-depth interviews on the patterns of contraceptive use and influences on contraceptive decision making were conducted among married Asian women from an Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi background. The data collected showed that there are significant variations in Asian women's reproductive strategies. Variations are evident in knowledge about family planning methods, timing of a first birth and timing of first use of contraception, birth spacing, and fertility. There are two distinctively different patterns of contraceptive use among Asian women: those of professional and nonprofessional women. Nonprofessional women usually have little knowledge about contraception until after their marriage or first birth. This is evident in their patterns of contraceptive behavior, which show low levels of contraceptive use until after their first birth. In contrast, professional women are more likely to have significant knowledge about contraceptive options before marriage and are able to make informed choices on their contraceptive needs. Unlike nonprofessional women, their fertility and family planning decision are not influenced by family, religion, or cultural expectations, but rather cites personal, practical, and economic considerations on their fertility decisions.