“We keep quiet”: exploring the context of pregnancy intention in a low-resource community in Ecuador

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7 Scopus citations


Unintended pregnancies are both a consequence and a cause of socioeconomic inequality. Family planning prevents unintended pregnancy and reduces health disparities. The purpose of this study is to describe the structural, social, economic context of pregnancy intention in a peri-urban, diverse, low-resource community in Ecuador. A qualitative descriptive methodology was used. Semi-structured individual interviews were performed with 19 female participants of reproductive age. Interviews were professionally transcribed in Spanish, translated into English, and analysed in MAXQDA using content analysis. The majority of pregnancies were reported as unintended and four themes emerged to describe the context. (1) Women's autonomy is limited by men, (2) Women keep quiet, (3) Systems failed women, and (4) Building resilience. Health systems, gender-based violence, limited education and financial means, and policies yet to be enforced served as barriers to both empowerment and family planning. In spite of this, many women were able to transition into safety, and prevent or delay pregnancy with new partners. Ecuador has made significant economic gains in the past two decades, but these findings suggest that inequality persists in some regions of Ecuador. The women in this study report needing to feel safe, productive and valued to plan their families. Public health professionals need to involve multi-sectors in solutions to reduce health disparities and address determinants of maternal/child health including gender-based violence, economic and systemic limitations. DOI:10.1080/26410397.2019.1686198.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1686198
JournalSexual and Reproductive Health Matters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Ecuador
  • Latin America
  • family planning
  • gender-based violence
  • health disparities
  • qualitative research
  • unintended pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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