Child Spacing and Reproductive Health in Rural Karnataka, India: From Research to Action
While quite a lot is known about child spacing and survival chances of children, much less is known about child spacing and womens health. The book describes child spacing behaviour of women in rural Karnataka, South India, as embedded in the economic and socio-cultural context in which women live. Adopting a life course perspective, child spacing is related to other events in the reproductive career (first menstruation, marriage) and reproductive health issues such as sexuality and contraceptive use. Women marry early, have their children and then often opt for sterilization. Modern spacing methods are hardly used: women think they have negative effects on their health status which is already low. Women indicate that the most important health problems for women in the villages are related to pregnancy and delivery, white discharge and general weakness. Different cultural schemas can be identified, i.e. those of heating (ushna, kaavu) and cooling (tampu) and pollution and purity, motivating reproductive health behaviour such as during menstruation, the use of the oral pill, the treatment of white discharge. Since young married women are fully dependent upon their husbands family, the role of the mother-in-law becomes quite important. While men are thought by women to have an important influence on their reproductive health behaviour, men turn out to have hardly any knowledge about these reproductive health issues. The research has provided evidence for the formulation of a health educational campaign, called Spandana, which is a collaboration of the researchers with FPAI Dharwad. The translation of research into action is also described in this very timely volume.
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