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Awareness and use of family planning methods among women in Northern Saudi Arabia

Ghzl Ghazi Alenezi,
Published: 1 April 2021
Middle East Fertility Society Journal , Volume 26, pp 1-8; doi:10.1186/s43043-021-00053-8

Abstract: Background Evaluation of awareness and use of family planning methods is important to improve services and policies. This study aimed to assess awareness and use of family planning methods among women in an urban community in the north of Saudi Arabia. A cross-sectional study was carried out in a maternity hospital and 12 primary health care (PHC) centers in Hail City between December 1st, 2019, and May 30, 2020. Results Four hundred married sexually active women aged 18–49 years were interviewed using a pretested structured questionnaire. The mean age of the participant was 32.0±7.5 years, 73.5% were university educated, and 58% were housewives. More than two-thirds of them (67.6%) had ≥3 living children. Most women (85%) ever used, and 66.5% were currently using any method of contraception; however, only one in five who get counseling for the contraceptive method used, and 40% of the last births were unplanned for. Almost all women reported unavailable family planning clinics in their primary healthcare centers. Most participants (83.0%) desired to have >3 children, which indicates that the main purpose of family planning was child spacing rather than limitation. Relying on natural methods as being safer (36.3%), desire to have more children (19%), being afraid from side effects (15.3%), and possibility of difficulty getting pregnant or might cause infertility (13.0%) were reasons the participants viewed for unsung modern contraceptives. Conclusion This study revealed that most women in urban Hail community, northern Saudi Arabia, were aware about and have a positive attitude towards family planning. The majority of the participants ever used, and two-thirds were currently using any contraceptive method/s, which is higher than the national estimate for Saudi Arabia. However, only one in five counseled by healthcare providers for the type of contraceptive method used. Unavailability of family planning services in primary health care centers impedes getting professional counseling. It is imperious to consider family planning clinics to provide quality family planning services.
Keywords: Awareness / Contraceptives / Family planning / Practice / Saudi Arabia

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