• Bangladesh;
  • discontinuation;
  • family planning;
  • oral contraceptive pills;
  • pills use

Oral contraceptive pills (OCP) contribute a major share in the current method-mix in Bangladesh. However, multiple studies show high discontinuation rates of OCP. The present study examines the behavior and attitude towards OCP use, and investigates the determinants of its discontinuation among the rural married women of Bangladesh.

The present study is based on critical analyses of the data from 24 focus group discussions and 135 in-depth-interviews with women, their husbands and key informants conducted over the period of 1 year.

The present study shows that more than two-thirds of married women have at one time or another used OCP as a method of family planning. However, many women did not take the pills regularly and about one-quarter of ever users had taken, at one stage or another, a ‘short break’ from OCP use. Although nearly half of them took a break because of side effects, interestingly, 16% took a break as the result of fear of health problems that were related to ‘folk stories’ and other misconceptions. The individual assessment by users of the national family planning service delivery, perceived side effects, misconceptions about continuous use of pills, quality of counseling and information, and contraceptive behavior of the OCP users considerably influenced the decisions on contraceptive use or non-use. (Reprod Med Biol 2006; 5: 111–121)