Denial of women's rights to contraception in southeastern Nigeria

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2013 May;121(2):154-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2012.12.010. Epub 2013 Feb 15.


Objective: To evaluate the opinions and experiences of married women in southeastern Nigeria regarding their rights to contraception, in addition to the impact of the denial of women's contraceptive rights on unplanned pregnancy rate.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of women who registered for prenatal care at 2 federal tertiary healthcare facilities in southeastern Nigeria was conducted. Randomly selected samples of participants were interviewed via a structured, pretested questionnaire.

Results: In total, 1204 women participated in the survey. Overall, 526 (43.7%) were unaware of their rights to contraception. Denial of contraceptive rights was reported by 522 (43.4%) women. In total, 174/317 (54.9%) women with unplanned pregnancies blamed denial of access to contraception for their pregnancies. Among the women who had used contraception previously, 61.9% reported that the decision to do so was taken by their spouse. Formal education seemed to increase women's level of awareness of their rights to contraception (P=0.001) but it did not influence the exercising of such rights.

Conclusion: A considerable proportion of women in southeastern Nigeria are being denied their rights to contraception, mainly owing to a culture of male dominance. There may be significant health implications for women with unplanned pregnancies arising from such denials.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data
  • Contraception Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Nigeria
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned*
  • Reproductive Rights / statistics & numerical data*
  • Spouses
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women's Rights / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult