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OnderzoekUrban and Regional Studies InstitutePopulation Research Centre

Publication on child spacing and reproductive health

New publication
Title Child spacing and reproductive health in rural Karnataka, India - From research to action
Authors Inge Hutter, N.V. Rajeswari, J.S. Hallad and B.M. Ramesh
Year of publication 2007
Publisher Manohar Publishers, Delhi & IDPAD

While quite a lot is known about child spacing and survival chances of children, much less is known about child spacing and women’s health.

The book describes the child spacing behaviour of women in rural Karnataka, South India, as embedded in the economic and socio-cultural context in which the women live. Adopting a life-course perspective, child spacing is related to other events in the reproductive career (first menstruation, marriage) and reproductive health issues such as sexuality and contraceptive use.

Women marry early, have their children and then often opt for sterilization. Modern spacing methods are rarely used: women think they have negative effects on their health status which is already low. Women indicate that the most important health problems for women in the villages are related to pregnancy and delivery, white discharge and general weakness.

Different cultural schemas can be identified: heating (ushna kaavu) and cooling (tampu) and pollution and purity, motivating reproductive health behaviour such as during menstruation, the use of the oral pill, the treatment of white discharge.

Since young married women are fully dependent upon their husband’s family, the role of the mother-in-law becomes quite important. While women think that men have an important influence on their reproductive health behaviour, men turn out to have hardly any knowledge about these reproductive health issues.

The research has provided evidence for the formulation of a health educational campaign, called Spandana, which is a collaboration of the researchers with FPAI Dharwad. Spandana was implemented in the period 2000-2006.

Last modified:15 November 2012 2.26 p.m.