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Perceived reasons of rural mothers regarding family size at Cherlapally, India

Suguna Dumpala, Guru Prasad Venna, Nagaraj Konagunta.


Background: In India, despite the availability of family planning (FP) methods since 1951, the use of FP remains low. It is not well-established how people make family decisions on the use of FP. Their perceptions about family size are not well-documented. These are important issues to be addressed to enhance the contraceptive use and lower fertility levels in India.

Objective: To identify the perceived reasons among rural mothers regarding family size.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out at Rural Health Training Centre (RHTC), Cherlapally, Nalgonda, Telangana, India. RHTC covers a population of 1,700 spread out in 11 villages. The study subjects comprised all married women in the reproductive age group who limited their family by using permanent FP method. Data were collected from January to June 2014. Descriptive statistics were reported as percentages. A X²-test was used to compare the family size with different demographic and socioeconomic categories. All statistical analysis was performed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS, Inc., Chicago, IL, version 19); p < 0.05 was considered as significant.

Result: Total subjects with ≥3 children were 184 (61.3%), and those with ≤2 children were 116 (38.7%). There was an association between larger families and age, education, and type of family groups, which were statistically significant (p < 0.05). However, other variables such as larger family size and age at marriage did not show any association. The most common perceived reason for a larger family size was a desire for a male child or second male child (44%), followed by pressure from husband/mother-in-law (27%) and afraid of FP operation (11%).

Conclusion: Limitation of family was influenced by the interaction of family members/decision-makers about the family size and sex preferences at family level. Hence, effective intervention and attention of policymakers and researchers should be directed to meet the needs of rural women in India.

Key words: Family planning, family size, perceived reasons

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