oa South African Family Practice - The beliefs and practices of Tshivenda-speaking multiparous women on contraception : a qualitative study : Original research

Volume 51, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



: The aim of the study was to understand the beliefs and practices of multiparous women on the use of contraceptives.

: This was a qualitative study using focus group interviews involving women from five different groups, namely: modern church, traditional church, traditional healers, care group and 'stokvel'.
: Women in all the groups were aware of various contraceptive methods and had experience of some of the methods. Women from the traditional church and healers groups did not believe in modern contraception. The traditional church group used water and tea for family planning and were discouraged by their church from using modern contraception. The traditional healers group used a method called ''u fhahea'' in Tshivenda or ''to hang'' i.e. herbal mixtures were placed in a clay pot, bottle, or animal coat and safely hidden until a woman was ready to conceive. The other three groups believed in and used modern contraceptive methods. The latter groups expressed that contraception gave them a sense of control to decide the number and appropriate space between children. The following reasons were given for not using or stopping contraception: infertility, enlargement of vagina, itchy watery vaginal discharge, malpresentation of fetus, decreased sexual desire, excessive weight gain or loss and disturbances of menstrual cycle. These reasons were believed to be responsible for family breakdown and inability of women to perform their normal household chores.
: This study has provided some insight into the beliefs and perceptions of women on contraception especially within the black African context. Beliefs based on religious and traditional practices influence the use of contraception in certain social groups, while perceptions about side-effects of contraceptives cause some women in other social groups not to use or suspend the use of contraception. Family planning programmes should be structured in such a way that the views of women in a particular community are considered.

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