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Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2013 May;121(2):157-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2012.11.024. Epub 2013 Mar 6.

Contraceptive use and unmet need for family planning in Iran.

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Department of Pediatrics, Ahvaz, Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.



To determine the prevalence of contraceptive use and unmet need for family planning in Iran and to explore the public-health implications.


A nationwide cross-sectional study was conducted by interviewing 2120 married women aged 15-49 years. The sample population was enrolled in 6 large Iranian cities (Tehran, Mashhad, Tabriz, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Ahvaz) and 2 small cities (Zahedan and Kerman) from September 22 to December 20, 2011.


The overall contraceptive prevalence rate was 81.5% and the unmet need for any method of contraception was 2.6% (95% confidence interval, 2.0%-3.3%). Given the frequency of women who used traditional contraceptive methods (22.3%), the unmet need for modern methods was estimated as 17.4%. The main reasons given for unmet need for family planning were low perceived risk of pregnancy (41.8%) and family opposition (21.8%). Unwanted pregnancy was reported by 30.7% of the participants.


A high rate of unmet need for modern contraceptive methods might potentially lead to increased rates of unwanted pregnancies and induced abortions. Healthcare policymakers should, therefore, be warned against a sense of complacency that family planning in Iran does not need their support.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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