Inconsistent fertility motivations and contraceptive use behaviors among women in Honduras

Reprod Health. 2009 Nov 19;6:19. doi: 10.1186/1742-4755-6-19.


Background: Recent studies have demonstrated that it is common for women to report inconsistent fertility motivations and family planning behaviors. This study examines these inconsistencies among urban Honduran women interviewed at two points in time and presents reasons for inconsistent fertility motivations and contraceptive behaviors at follow-up.

Methods: Data come from a one-year panel study conducted in Honduras from October 2006 to December 2007. A total of 633 women aged 15-44 years were interviewed at baseline and follow-up and have non-missing information on the key variables of interest. At baseline and follow-up, women were asked how much of a problem it would be (no problem/small problem/big problem) if they got pregnant in the next couple of weeks. At follow-up, women were asked an open-ended question on reasons it would be no problem, a small problem, or a big problem. The open-ended question was recoded into a smaller set of response categories. Univariate and bivariate analyses are presented to examine inconsistencies and reasons for stated inconsistencies.

Results: At follow-up, over half the women using a contraceptive method said that it would be no problem if they got pregnant. Nearly half of the women changed their perceptions between baseline and follow-up. Common reasons for reporting no problem among contraceptive users were that they accepted a child as God's will or that children are a blessing, their last child was old enough and they wanted another child. Common reasons for reporting a big/small problem among non-users of family planning (who have an unmet need for family planning) were that they were not in a stable relationship, the husband was not present, and they would expect a negative response from their family.

Conclusion: Inconsistent fertility motivations and contraceptive behaviors are common among effective contraceptive users. Women who are using contraception and become pregnant will not necessarily report the pregnancy as unintended, given the widespread acceptance of unintended pregnancies in Honduras. Family planning providers need to recognize that fertility motivations vary over time and that women may not have firm motivations to avoid a pregnancy.