Do ambivalent women have an unmet need for family planning? A longitudinal study from Bali, Indonesia

Womens Health Issues. 2011 Nov-Dec;21(6):444-9. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2011.04.031. Epub 2011 Jul 1.


Introduction: Fertility intentions often can predict contraceptive demand and fertility outcomes. Little is known about women reporting ambivalent fertility intentions, who are usually classified as having an unmet need for contraception. This study's objectives were to determine 1) which fertility intention group ambivalent women more closely resemble and 2) whether ambivalent women seem to have an unmet contraceptive need.

Methods: We analyzed longitudinal data from 1,018 married Balinese women aged 15 to 45, of whom 33% desired more children, 52% wanted no more, and 14% were ambivalent. Ambivalent women were compared with those with definitive intentions using bivariate analyses. Regression analysis was used to determine the predictors of birth avoidance.

Results: Although ambivalent women were significantly older, and had less education and more children than women who wanted more children, ambivalent women were more similar in their contraceptive use to those who wanted more children than those who wanted no more. However, in terms of birth outcomes, ambivalent women resembled more the women who intended to avoid childbearing: After 4 years, 33% of ambivalent women had another birth compared with 29% of women who wanted no more and 57% of women who desired more children. Contraceptive use at baseline did not predict ambivalent women's fertility outcomes, unlike the other groups.

Conclusion: Despite their relatively low rates of contraceptive use at baseline, ambivalent women generally avoided giving birth during the study period. This suggests that ambivalent women may not have a high unmet need for family planning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data*
  • Contraception Behavior*
  • Educational Status
  • Family
  • Family Planning Services*
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Indonesia
  • Intention*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Parity
  • Parturition
  • Young Adult