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Year : 1984  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 139-46

Socio-economic correlates of fertility and contraceptive practices amongst target couples of a rural community.

Correspondence Address:
M Bhattacharya

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 6536633

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This study examined the sociological characteristics, fertility patterns, and contraceptive practices of a random sample of the target population of a family planning program in Allahabad, India. The program's target population of 16,3000 married couple of reproductive age lived in the Jasara block of the city. Family planning services were provided at a hospital clinic located in the Jasara block. A questionnaire was used to collect information from a sample of 500 couples. 91.4% of the respondents were Hindu, 98.5% were uneducated, and the modal age of the sample was 20-30 years. The average number of children ever born to the respondents was 3.66, and the mean child loss was 0.54/couple. 25 couples had no children. The mean age at marriage for the women was 14.58 years, and parity decreased as marriage age increased. Among couples married 1-5 years, the mean number of children was 1.7, and among couples married 25 years or more, the mean number of children was 5.6. Women between the ages of 25-29 years had 3.67 children, and those over 40 years of age had 5.59 children. 310 couples lived in nuclear families, and the remaining couples lived in joint families. The average number of children decreased as the educational level of the father increased. Parity was higher among low income groups than among moderate income groups. 68% of the fathers were cultivators, 22% were agricultural laborers, and 9% were service workers. No differences in parity were observed for the occupational groups. The mean number of children among Muslim couples was 4.8, 3.7 among Hindus belonging to lower castes, and 3.1 among Hindus belong to upper castes. Social class was not related to parity. Only 52% of the couples ever used contraception. 36% of the 500 couples ever used condoms, 8.2% relied on tubectomies, and 5.4% ever used oral contraceptive (OCs) or IUDs. Condom use was equally distributed among different educational groups. 30% of couples with high school educations and 4% of the illiterate couples used sterilization. Couples with low incomes were more likely to use condoms, and couples with higher incomes were more likely to use sterilization. Couples in the lower and upper income groups were more likely to practice contraception than couples in the middle income group. Most of the women who had tubectomies had 3-4 children. There is a need to promote temporary methods among younger couples. Many couples, and especially illiterate couples, are concerned about the side effects of OCs and IUDs. They tend to use condoms until they are ready to accept sterilization. Efforts should be made to educate couples about the benefits of OCs and IUDs and to overcome their fear of these methods.

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