Previous studies have shown that women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds have higher rates of unintended pregnancies. Such pregnancies are linked with negative social, emotional, and medical consequences for the mother, including post-natal depression, disruption in education, and social stigma.
Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) are one of the most effective forms of contraception and include intrauterine devices and the subdermal hormonal implant. However, women from CALD backgrounds—those born overseas, have a parent born overseas, or speak a variety of languages—are less likely to use them, according to a new research article published in the journal Health Promotion Journal of Australia.
A previous study showed that watching online educational videos of LARC improved LARC preference and use among younger women. Following up on this, the new research focused on identifying how an online educational intervention can improve LARC preference and use among women from CALD backgrounds.
For this study, 29 women completed the survey, including twelve Indians. The researchers interviewed six representatives from each cultural group. Most women were below 30 years of age.
Indian women involved in the study said that there was low health literacy in general, not just about contraception, in their community. They wanted to know more about contraception not only to avoid unintended pregnancies, but also to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as well to avoid social rejection, according to the paper. One of the Indian participants said, “Majority of the regions in my area believe that it is a sin to do contraception because we are not accepting God's gift.”
Women also said that covert contraceptive methods such as LARC help prevent family members from finding out about their contraception usage and engagement in premarital intercourse. Some of them also said that they wanted to know more about LARC, including cost and how to access them so as to avoid cultural stigma or disapproval of premarital intercourse. The importance of information about the cost of contraception was particularly highlighted by international students and those who lack government-subsidised health services, according to the paper.
Moreover, the study showed that information on LARC which is translated to native languages, or at least with subtitles, would lead to an increase in their use. Finally, the study showed the importance of online education about LARC methods and highlighted the covertness of contraceptive methods, their cost, and how to access them. For Indian women, the online intervention should focus on the effects of contraceptive methods on menstruation and include basic information about women's health.