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Closing the Womb Door: Contraception Use and Fertility Transition Among Culturally Tibetan Women in Highland Nepal
Maternal & Child Health Journal
Short Title: Maternal & Child Health JournalClosing the Womb Door
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: 2016/12//
Pages: 2437 - 2450
Sources ID: 97441
Visibility: Public (group default)
Abstract: (Show)
Objectives Whether in metropoles or remote mountain communities, the availability and adoption of contraceptive technologies prompt serious and wide-ranging biological, social, and political-economic questions. The potential shifts in women's capacities to create spaces between pregnancies or to prevent future pregnancies have profound and often positive biological, demographic, and socioeconomic implications. Less acknowledged, however, are the ambivalences that women experience around contraception use-vacillations between moral frameworks, generational difference, and gendered forms of labor that have implications well beyond the boundaries of an individual's reproductive biology. This paper hones in on contraceptive use of culturally Tibetan women in two regions of highland Nepal whose reproductive lives occurred from 1943 to 2012. Methods We describe the experiences of the 296 women (out of a study of more than 1000 women's reproductive histories) who used contraception, and under what circumstances, examining socioeconomic, geographic, and age differences as well as points of access and patterns of use. We also provide a longitudinal perspective on fertility. Results Our results relate contraception usage to fertility decline, as well as to differences in access between the two communities of women. Conclusions We argue that despite seemingly similar social ecologies of these two study sites-including stated reasons for the adoption of contraception and expressed ambivalence around its use, some of which are linked to moral and cosmological understandings that emerge from Buddhism-the dynamics of contraception uptake in these two regions are distinct, as are, therefore, patterns of fertility transition.