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You are here: Home / MPRC People / Ruth Zambrana, Ph.D. / Ruth Zambrana Publications / Challenging Stereotypes: A Counter-Narrative of the Contraceptive Experiences of Low-Income Latinas

Diana N Cavajal and Ruth E Zambrana (2020)

Challenging Stereotypes: A Counter-Narrative of the Contraceptive Experiences of Low-Income Latinas

Health Equity, 4(1).

Purpose: Reproductive autonomy is associated with educational attainment, advanced employment, and wellbeing. While U.S. Latinas use contraception to control their own childbearing and have reported a desire to do so, they often use it inconsistently and have the lowest rates of contraceptive use of any group. Reasons previously cited for why Latinas do not use contraception compared with non-Latino white women include lack of access, lack of knowledge, language barriers, emphasis on large families, machismo, and religiosity. These reasons are often overly simplistic and can lead to widespread generalizations about Latinas. Methods: Using focus groups and semistructured interviews from November 2014 through June 2015, this study describes the family planning perspectives and experiences of 16 Latinas living in Baltimore and recruited from two federally qualified health centers. A social determinant of health framework was used to guide identification of important concepts and explain findings. Results: Results demonstrated that respondents reported contraceptive agency and claimed autonomy over their bodies; described a sense of responsibility and often expressed caution about having families too large to care for; expressed educational and career aspirations; and perceived contraception as critical for the postponement of childbearing to achieve their goals. Conclusion: The patient/provider encounter should include communication that recognizes all patient preferences and lived experiences to support vulnerable and/or marginalized Latinas in their desires to control their own childbearing and life choices.

Women, Women's Health, Latina/o, Zambrana, Health Disparities, Gender, Family, and Social Change, Health, Health in Social Context, Family Science
Reproductive health, Immigrant health, Contraception, Latina health
First published online: March 4th, 2020

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