Family planning knowledge, attitudes, and practices among Bhutanese refugee women?
Awarded 2012
Trainee Grants
Alex Soriano
University of Pittsburgh

Background: The number of Bhutanese refugees in the US continues to grow with insufficient knowledge of current family planning practices of this community. Refugee women face additional barriers that prevent them from obtaining adequate healthcare. Methods: We analyzed the current attitudes and practices regarding pregnancy, contraception, social norms, and abortion in the Bhutanese community. A total of 15 in-depth interviews with Bhutanese women ages 18 to 45 years old were conducted at an urban health center focused on serving refugees and immigrants. Results: During the interviews, the major theme regarding pregnancy and motherhood among the Bhutanese refugees was that 13 of the women desired to limit their family size. The majority of women had used at least one form of contraception including injections and pills, however, only three of the women were currently using a form of contraception. The decision for contraceptive use was influenced by her partner, family, and Bhutanese friends. Abortion was considered morally wrong by 13 of the Bhutanese women with the remaining two uncertain. Of the women interviewed, only one woman had known another woman who had an abortion. None of the women had considered having an abortion. Conclusions: Bhutanese refugee women desire to limit their family size and are receptive to multiple forms of contraception. Partners, family, and friends are important influences on contraceptive choice and desire for future pregnancies.