Objective To determine the knowledge and practice of contraception among United Arab Emirates (UAE) women.
Method Four hundred and fifty UAE women at risk of pregnancy were randomly selected from the community and primary health care centres and interviewed about knowledge and practice of contraception using a structured questionnaire.
Results Four hundred women (89%) gave consent to participate in the study. One hundred and sixty-six participants (41.5%) were using contraception. All used natural methods backed with other methods. There were significant associations between using contraception and each of age, high level of education and low family income (p < 0.0001 for the three variables). Religious beliefs and low expectation of success of birth control were the reasons given for non-use. Eighty-five percent of subjects did not accept sterilisation without medical indications, nor using contraception before the first pregnancy. Of the women, 42.5% believed that contraceptive methods should not be used after the age of 40, and 78% were unaware that they could be used for treatment of gynaecological diseases. Disturbed bleeding patterns occurred in 48.7% of users, and these were most bothered by the inability to pray (100%) and to have sexual intercourse (97.5%).
Conclusion Contraception is not commonly used by UAE women because of sociocultural traditions, religious beliefs and poor knowledge.
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