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Perceptions of Coercion, Discrimination and Other Negative Experiences in Postpartum Contraceptive Counseling for Low-income Minority Women


Background. Using in-depth qualitative methods, we investigated negative contraception counseling experiences, including those felt to be coercive or discriminatory, in a population of postpartum urban minority women. Methods. Brief surveys and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 consenting postpartum women who had received care at a Medicaid-funded obstetrics clinic. In-person one-on-one interviews were then reviewed for themes using an iterative process of qualitative analysis. Results. In this sample of African American (63%) and Hispanic (37%) women (median age 26), 73% had unplanned pregnancies. Features of negative counseling experiences included having insufficient, non-physician-directed and impersonal counseling. Most women had experienced episodes of poor communication with providers; 10 described feeling coerced or perceiving racially-based discrimination in counseling. Conclusions. Negative experiences with contraceptive counseling may affect contraception utilization. Contraceptive education should respect each individual's autonomy, culture, and values.

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