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Exploring Sociocultural Barriers to Family Planning Among Mayans in Guatemala

Victoria M. Ward, Jane T. Bertrand and Francisco Puac
International Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 18, No. 2 (Jun., 1992), pp. 59-65
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/2133395
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2133395
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Exploring Sociocultural Barriers to Family Planning Among Mayans in Guatemala
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Abstract

Focus-group research with nine groups of 8-12 participants, and in-depth interviews with 25 traditional birth attendants, in Maya-Quiche communities in Guatemala in 1990 indicate that social pressure against family planning is a substantial barrier to its use. Community leaders, religious leaders and husbands exert considerable influence on family planning decisions and usually oppose the use of contraceptives. Although Mayan participants found periodic abstinence acceptable, many believe that conception is least likely to occur in the middle of the menstrual cycle. The concept of birthspacing is a more acceptable way of promoting family planning than the theme "responsible parents have small families," because of prevailing positive attitudes toward large families.

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