Clandestine Contraceptive Use among Northern Nigerian Muslim Women in Polygynous Unions

Chimaraoke 0. Izugbara, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)

Clandestine contraceptive use remains poorly understood in Africa. Relying on qualitative interviews with polygynously married Muslim women in northern Nigeria, we examine the particular dynamics of clandestine contraceptive use in polygynous unions. Covert contraceptive use offered the women a lot more than a strategy for dealing with the risk of opposition by their husbands. Women in the study used contraceptives covertly due largely to concerns that husbands would latch on to their limited childbearing to marry additional wives. Use was also generally kept secret from husbands in order to avert co-wives’ access to the information. Overall, clandestine contraceptive use in polygynous unions is driven largely by the ample benefits which wives derive from having many children and by the particular risks which limited childbearing poses for women in polygynous unions. The assumption that contraceptive use and limited fertility benefit women in all manners of marital unions is very problematic.

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Presented in Poster Session 6