Global WACh

December 29, 2022

New study will develop novel approach to measure fertility intentions among Kenyan women

Closeup of pregnancy test and contraceptive pills birth control concept

Measuring fertility intentions, which pertain to ideal family size and desire for additional children, is complex and may be influenced by contextual factors and culture, and beliefs held by individuals that drive their attitudes and behaviors. Most existing fertility intention scales are designed to classify women with binary measures, such as having an intended or unintended pregnancy, and do not allow for the spectrum of feelings that women might have, including ambivalent feelings about pregnancy.

A new study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), will support the development of a novel scale that is locally derived to measure fertility intentions for Kenyan women, using methodology that is informed by individual women’s voices and experiences, and allowing for mixed feelings about pregnancy and motherhood.

This scale will be incorporated into a digital reproductive life planning counseling tool to help women and girls make informed decisions about using family planning methods and planning pregnancy. This digital counseling tool strives to streamline counseling and reduce over-stretched health care providers’ workload, better educate, and engage users, improve attitudes toward pre-conception planning and family planning, provide greater perceived control over reproductive health choices, and prepare women to spend face-to-face time with providers on pre-selected family planning method(s) or discuss ambivalence or plans for pregnancy. Benefits of higher quality family planning services include reducing the burden of unintended pregnancies, improving maternal and child health survival, and providing women opportunities for both educational and career advancement.

Dr. Alison Drake, faculty in the Departments of Global Health and Epidemiology, is leading this project along with predoctoral fellow Aparna Seth, a third-year PhD student in the Global Health Metrics and Implementation Science program