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Tanzania Journal of Health Research
Health User's Trust Fund (HRUTF)
ISSN: 1821-6404
Vol. 12, No. 3, 2010
Bioline Code: th10021
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Tanzania Journal of Health Research, Vol. 12, No. 3, 2010

 en "Seek any means, and keep it your secret": Young women's attempts to control their reproduction through contraceptive and fertility practices in rural Tanzania
Plummer, M.L.; Wamoyi, J.; Sshigongo, Z.S.; Mshana, G.; Obasi, A.I.N.; Ross, D.A. & Wight, D.


This study examined young women's attempts to control reproduction through contraception and fertility protection or promotion in rural Tanzania. It drew on participant observation in nine villages, group discussions and interviews in three others, and 16 health facility simulated patient visits from 1999-2002. Fertility was highly valued, but out-of-wedlock pregnancies were stigmatized. Many girls used traditional contraception, such as wearing charms or drinking ash solutions. Young single mothers sometimes used modern contraception, including Depo Provera, because injections were accessible, private, and infrequent. However, use was ambivalent and inconsistent for fear of side effects, such as infertility (hormonal contraceptives) and reduced male pleasure (condoms). Newly married women tried to conceive immediately. Traditional treatments were used for infertility, miscarriage, or difficult deliveries. These were attributed to physical causes (sexually transmitted infections; contraception; abortion) and/or supernatural causes (God's will; witchcraft; ancestral punishment). Improved reproductive health education and services are greatly needed. The potential of condoms to protect future fertility should be emphasised.

Young women, fertility, contraception, rural Africa, Tanzania

© Copyright 2010 Tanzania Journal of Health Research.

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