Knowledge and beliefs about reproductive anatomy and physiology among Mexican-Origin women in the USA: Implications for effective oral contraceptive use

Michele Shedlin, Jon Amastae, Joseph E. Potter, Kristine Hopkins, Daniel Grossman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Inherent in many reproductive health and family planning programmes is the problematic assumption that the body, its processes and modifications to it are universally experienced in the same way. This paper addresses contraceptive knowledge and beliefs among Mexican-origin women, based upon data gathered by the qualitative component of the Border Contraceptive Access Study. Open-ended interviews explored the perceived mechanism of action of the pill, side-effects, non-contraceptive benefits, and general knowledge of contraception. Findings revealed complex connections between traditional and scientific information. The use of medical terms (e.g. 'hormone') illustrated attempts to integrate new information with existing knowledge and belief systems. Conclusions address concerns that existing information and services may not be sufficient if population-specific knowledge and beliefs are not assessed and addressed. Findings can contribute to the development of effective education, screening and reproductive health services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-479
Number of pages14
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013



  • Mexican women
  • USA
  • family planning
  • oral contraceptives
  • reproductive health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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