Findings from the use of a narrative story and leaflet to influence shifts along the behavior change continuum toward postpartum contraceptive uptake in Sylhet District, Bangladesh

Patient Educ Couns. 2014 Dec;97(3):376-82. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2014.09.007. Epub 2014 Sep 20.


Objectives: Postpartum women face uncertainty about timing of return to fecundity. Many women wait to use contraception until menses return, resulting in unintended pregnancies. This study explored the use of behavior change communication to address perceptions of postpartum return to fecundity and contraceptive adoption.

Methods: This study, which took place in Sylhet District in Bangladesh, explored knowledge and perceptions about postpartum return to fecundity and used the Steps to Behavior Change framework to assess the reported influence of a leaflet and fictional story ("Asma's Story") incorporated within community health activities. The study relied on in- depth interviews and focus group discussions.

Results: The study revealed nearly universal exposure to Asma's Story. Reported shifts in perceived susceptibility to pregnancy, benefits of pregnancy spacing, and increased social support for postpartum family planning (PPFP) were noted. However, only approximately one third of women were using a modern contraceptive method.

Conclusions: Using a fictional story offers a promising approach for motivating shifts along the continuum.

Practice implications: It is recommended that Asma's Story be incorporated within future efforts to scale up PPFP in Bangladesh, and that similar approaches be tailored and tested in other countries.

Keywords: Bangladesh; Behavior change communication; Breastfeeding; Entertainment education; Family planning; Narratives; Postpartum care; Postpartum family planning; Stages of change; Steps to behavior change.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bangladesh
  • Birth Intervals
  • Breast Feeding
  • Contraception Behavior*
  • Contraception*
  • Culture*
  • Family Planning Services
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Narration
  • Postpartum Period*
  • Pregnancy
  • Social Support
  • Young Adult