Differentials of spousal communications and reproductive desires of couples in urban slums of Chandigarh, India

Dinesh Kumar, Meenu Kalia, Naveen K. Goel, Munesh K. Sharma


Background: There may be conflicting responses of women and men regarding reproductive decisions. However, little is known about differentials of inter-personal communications between husbands and wives and their reproductive desires. Objectives of the study were, to investigate interpersonal communications between women and spouses regarding reproductive aspects and differentials of their reproductive desires. Also, to evaluate impact of improving spousal communications and other interventions on reproductive desires of partners.

Methods: Community-based cluster randomized interventional study conducted in urban slums of Chandigarh covering 667 women in reproductive ages and their spouses. Study variables include, socio-cultural and demographic characteristics, reproductive behaviour, contraceptive awareness and use interpersonal communications.

Results: Based on opinions of women, 78.7% couples in baseline survey and 84.9% couples in post interventional survey took decisions regarding timing of first child jointly. Last pregnancy was not desired by 38.4% women and 40.0% of their spouses. In the baseline survey 162 (24.3%) women and 161 (24.1%) men wanted to wait for next pregnancy. About 65% couples in the baseline survey and 71% couples in the post intervention survey agreed to accept unplanned pregnancies. Inter-personal relationships between husbands and wives were reportedly good by 92.1% couples in spite of male dominance in fertility related decisions.

Conclusions: Reproductive decisions like timings of first child, number of children, gap between successive pregnancies, choice and use of contraceptives, abortion of unwanted pregnancy etc. were taken jointly by couples. Couples should be encouraged for better spousal communications and taking joint decisions for attainment of desired reproductive health outcomes.


Improvident maternity, Intended contraceptive use, Reproductive behaviour, Spousal communication, Undesired pregnancy, Unplanned pregnancy

Full Text:



Gupta MD: Death clustering, mothers education and the determinants of child mortality in Rural Punjab. Indian Popn Studies. 1990;44:489-505.

Population Policies and Family Planning Programmes in India: A Review and Recommendations, Prof. K Srinivasan, Dr. C Chandrasekhran Memorial Lecture 03.02.06. IIPS, Mumbai.

Towards Population Stabilization by Ashish Bose Bulletin of Nutrition Foundation of India. 2000.

National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3). 2006-07, International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, India, ORC Macro, Maryland, USA, October 2000.

United Nations: Programme of action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo), New York, UN: 115, 1995-96.

Ogunjuyigbe PO, Ojofeitimi EO, Liasu A. Spousal Communication, Changes in Partner Attitude, and Contraceptive Use Among the Yorubas of Southwest Nigeria. Indian Journal of Community Medicine. 2009;34(2):112-6.

Yadav, Singh KB, Goswami K. Unmet Family Planning Need: Differences and Levels of Agreement between Husband-Wife, Haryana, India Indian Journal of Community Medicine. 2009;34(3):188-92.

Dutta M, Kapilashrami MC, Tiwari VK. Knowledge, Awareness and Extent of Male Participation In Key Areas Of Reproductive and Child Health In An Urban Slum Of Delhi Health and Population-Perspectives and Issues. 2004;27(2):49-66.