Family planning in a sub-district near Kumasi, Ghana: side effect fears, unintended pregnancies and misuse of a medication as emergency contraception

Afr J Reprod Health. 2011 Sep;15(3):121-32.


The Barekuma Collaborative Community Development Project (BCCDP) performed a study regarding family planning in communities in the Barekese sub-district near Kumasi, Ghana in July 2010. Eighty-five women, ages 15-49 years, in three communities were interviewed with a modified version of the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey. While virtually all women recognized at least one family planning method, half of all recent or current pregnancies were unintended and 20 percent of women had a previous abortion. Unexpectedly, 27 percent of women had misused norethisterone tablets (Primolut N or "N-tablets"), a synthetic progesterone, as emergency contraception. Women had a variety of concerns about family planning methods, including one-third having a fear of side effects for hormonal methods (particularly heart palpitations), as well as unfamiliarity with and particular aspects they did not like for most methods. However, women were interested in learning more about side effects as well as modern fertility awareness-based methods. There is an urgent need for interventions aimed at regulating and implementing the correct use of Primolut N tablets, addressing real and perceived side effects of family planning practices through properly trained community health nurses and introducing modern methods of fertility awareness such as Standard Days Method and the Two-day Method in the Barekese sub-district.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraception Behavior* / psychology
  • Contraception, Postcoital
  • Contraceptives, Postcoital
  • Family Planning Services*
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Ghana
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Misuse
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptives, Postcoital