Published June 22, 2020
Congratulations to Professor Gretchen Ely and her colleagues on the publication of their article, "Family planning trends among community‐dwelling African refugee women," in Public Health Nursing.
Agbemenu, K., Auerbach, S., Ely, G. E., Aduloji-Ajijola, N., & Wang, H. (2020). Family planning trends in African refugee women living in the U.S. Public Health Nursing.
From 2009 to 2019, more than 175,000 refugees were admitted into the United States from African countries. What is known about sexual and reproductive health in this population is focused on perinatal outcomes; beliefs and attitudes towards family planning and related behaviors, which can impact perinatal health, have not been explored. Understanding these beliefs and attitudes can guide future work with this population.
A cross‐sectional, convenience survey of 100 community‐dwelling African refugee women was conducted.
The following research questions guided analysis: What are African refugee women's family planning attitudes (pregnancy intention, desired timing, perceived fecundity)? What are African refugee women's family planning behaviors (use vs. non‐use of methods, type of methods used)? and What socio‐demographic factors and family planning attitudes are related to family panning behaviors (use or non‐use of methods)? Almost 49% of participants reported ever using a method of family planning and 35% reported current use. Reasons for non‐use included desire for more children (28.8%), infrequent intercourse (22.0%), and fear of side effects (16.9%). Nearly two thirds expressed a desire for a future pregnancy (63.4%), but the majority reported wanting to become pregnant in two or more years (25.7%) or “when God wants” (24.8%). No significant relationship was found between family planning method use and future pregnancy intention, desired timing of future pregnancy, perceived fecundity, marital status, religious affiliation, number of years in the US. Having had any formal schooling decreased the likelihood of using a family planning method.
Implications for Practice and Research
Low family planning method use rates among African refugee women are not completely explained by desires for future pregnancy, perceived fecundity, marital status, or other sociodemographic factors. Concern for future fertility and fear of side effects were identified as potentially modifiable reasons appropriate for community based culturally congruent educational interventions on family planning use.