Misinformation and fear of side-effects of family planning

Cult Health Sex. 2012;14(4):421-33. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2012.664659. Epub 2012 Mar 5.


Fears about the side-effects from family planning are well-documented barriers to use. Many fears are misinformation, while others reflect real experience, and understanding of these is not complete. Using qualitative interviews with women in three countries, this study examines what women feared, how they acquired this knowledge, and how it impacted on decision-making. We aimed to understand whether women would be more likely to use family planning if they were counselled that the side-effects they feared were inaccurate. Across all countries, respondents had a similar host of fears and misinformation about family planning, which were comprised of a mixture of personal experience and rumour. Most fears were method-specific and respondents overwhelmingly stated that they would be more likely to use the family planning method they feared if counselled that there were no side-effects. This suggests programmes should focus on education about family planning methods and method mix.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Decision Making
  • Family Planning Services*
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Female
  • Ghana
  • Health Education*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Information Dissemination*
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mythology
  • Nepal
  • Nigeria
  • Peru
  • Preconception Care
  • Young Adult