IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Balancing effectiveness, side-effects and work: women's perceptions and experiences with modern contraceptive technology in Cambodia


  • Sadana, Ritu
  • Snow, Rachel


This community-based study presents the results of 17 focus-group discussions primarily among poor married women of reproductive age in urban and rural Cambodia regarding their experiences with modern contraceptive methods and their preferences for different technical attributes, including effectiveness, mode of administration, secrecy and rapid return of fertility. Key findings indicate that women who use modern contraceptive technologies desire highly effective methods of birth control. Cambodian women are primarily interested in longer-acting methods, view weight gain positively and are less concerned about a rapid return to fertility upon discontinuation of a method or secrecy from their partners. Women report a high level of side-effects as well as a high level of individual variation between side-effects and each modern contraceptive method used. Women with more knowledge and experience of modern contraceptive technologies alter their preference for highly effective methods based on a method's perceived suitability. Specifically, women may switch from a modern method associated with negative side-effects to a lesser effective traditional method, either to take a break from unwanted side-effects or discontinue modern methods altogether, if another suitable method is unavailable. These and other findings point to the need for greater development and choice of contraceptive methods with different technical attributes; improved information that clearly and simply describes how each method works within a women's body and its expected side-effects; improved access to reproductive health services; and improved assessment of women's underlying burden of reproductive illness not directly associated with modern contraceptives.

Suggested Citation

  • Sadana, Ritu & Snow, Rachel, 1999. "Balancing effectiveness, side-effects and work: women's perceptions and experiences with modern contraceptive technology in Cambodia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 343-358, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:49:y:1999:i:3:p:343-358

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:49:y:1999:i:3:p:343-358. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.