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ItemWomen’s contraceptive decision-making: juggling the needs of the sexual body and the fertile bodyKeogh, Louise A. (The Haworth Press, Inc., 2005)The contradictions faced by women in the area of fertility management justify an in-depth qualitative study of contraceptive use. The experience of needing emergency contraception (EC) is an opportunity to study decision-making about fertility management. Thirty two in-depth interviews were conducted with users of EC recruited in Melbourne, Australia. Women were juggling the needs of the sexual body and the fertile body. The sexual body was expected to be available in women’s relationships, and the fertile body required protection from pregnancy in the present and preservation for the future. The needs of these two bodies were very often in conflict and women chose to resolve this conflict in subtly different ways; three strategies were identified. Some women chose to make sexual availability and security from pregnancy a priority; others felt forced to sacrifice sexual availability and security from pregnancy; and a final group chose to make the protection of the fertile body for the future a priority. This study provides a starting point for developing a context-based, woman-centered understanding of the experience of fertility management for women in developed countries.
ItemUnderstandings of the 'natural' body: a comparison of the views of users and providers of emergency contraceptionKeogh, Louise A. (CSIRO, 2005)Background: 'Natural' is a pervasive discourse with mixed meanings in contemporary society. I was interested in how users and providers of emergency contraception conceptualised the 'natural' body in contraceptive decision making.Method: Thirty-two users and 19 providers of emergency contraception from three sites in metropolitan Melbourne were interviewed, or participated in focus groups, about emergency contraceptive use, contraceptive decision making and perceptions of risk. The qualitative data were transcribed and coded to identify the key ways that both users and providers perceived the 'natural' body.Results: Providers and users adopted different frameworks for interpreting the discourse of the 'natural' body. Thirteen of the 32 users identified the 'natual' body as a factor in their decision making. They identified a 'natural' body as a body experiencing no interruption with ovulation, and/or free from unwanted side effects. Six of the 13 women who discussed the 'natural' body used a contraceptive that allowed them to preserve their natural body (e.g. condoms). The remaining seven women identified it as an ideal that they could not achieve. Providers in general discredited the idea of a 'natural' body and instead conceptualised contraceptive decision making as a 'simple' risk-benefit anaysis.Conclusions: The differences between the two groups can be understood in a number of different ways. The important conclusion however, is that the different perspectives present a potential barrier to effective communication in the contraceptive consultation, and may be able to be resolved through the development of an embodied risk-benefit analysis that may be meaningful to both groups.
ItemA qualitative study of women's use of emergency contraceptionKeogh, Louise A. ( 2005)BACKGROUND: While the use of emergency contraception (EC) is becoming more widespread in Australia, little is known about the reasons for, and the social context of, this use. METHODS: In order to explore the use of EC from the perspective of users, a qualitative study was conducted with women presenting to one of three health care settings in Melbourne, Australia for EC. RESULTS: Thirty-two women ranging in age from 18 to 45 years were interviewed. While a number of themes were discussed with the women, this paper reports on four ‘types of users’ of EC identified from the data. ‘Controllers’ experienced failure of their contraceptive method and were very uncomfortable needing EC. They changed their contraceptive strategy in an attempt to avoid needing EC in the future. ‘Thwarted controllers’ were similar to controllers except that they could not improve their contraceptive strategy due to medical or social limitations. ‘Risk takers’ saw the use of EC as a component of their overall contraceptive strategy. They did not rely on EC regularly, but were comfortable to use it occasionally when the need arose. A final group of women were ‘caught short’ by a sexual experience that was unplanned and therefore they did not manage to use their chosen contraceptive strategy. CONCLUSIONS: The findings from this study challenge the assumptions that are often made about the users of EC and highlight the need to acknowledge the different ways that women make sense of, and make decisions about, contraception.