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Objective: India is the second most populous country in the world with current Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 2.3. A wide range of contraceptive services are available under National Family Planning Program. Despite this, unsafe abortions significantly contribute to maternal mortality. This study was conducted to assess knowledge and practices about contraceptive methods to identify areas that need strengthening.
Materials and methods: A hospital based cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2017 in out-patient gynaecology clinic in a Government Medical College, Himachal Pradesh, India. Four hundred and four women of reproductive age-group (18-45) were interviewed and data was collected on predesigned structured questionnaire.
Results: Out of 404 women except two women knew about at least one modern method of family planning. Media (51%) and health care professionals (46%) were the main sources of information. The most commonly used method was tubectomy (46.5%). Barrier method was used by 37.1%. Intrauterine contraceptive device was used by 8.4% women and oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) were use only by 6.9% women. Emergency contraception was used by 5.94%. Injectable contraception was the least used method (0.49%).
Conclusion: Sterilization services are well accepted but spacing methods need to be promoted. Focus of family planning services should now shift towards individualised services with increased focus on spacing methods without disturbing the current network of sterilization services.
Keywords: Pregnancy; Contraception; Sterilization; Abortion; Oral contraceptive pills