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Family planning practices of women working in the Cambodian garment industry: a qualitative study

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Chisato Masuda, Elisa Oreglia, Chris Smith

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalContraception and Reproductive Medicine
Published11 Aug 2020

King's Authors


Women working in Cambodian garment factories may have higher unmet need for family planning than other women in Cambodia. Most garment factory workers are living away from home and are aged under 30. Half have only primary school education. This study describes their experiences of contraception and abortion. We conducted interviews with 16 women seeking abortion services at private health facilities, and 13 private providers surrounding garment factories. Most women were married and had at least one child. Among factory workers the major reported reasons for abortion were birth spacing and financial constraints. Family, friends, or co-workers were the major information resources regarding abortion and contraception, and their positive or negative experiences strongly influenced women’s attitude towards both. Medical abortion was not always provided with adequate instructions. While women knew the side effects of medical abortion, many did not know the adverse warning signs and the signs of abortion completion. Only three women started contraception after abortion, as most of the women expressed fear and hesitation of real or perceived side effects associated with modern contraception. Fear of infertility was particularly reported among young women without children. This research shows that in this setting not all women are receiving comprehensive abortion care and contraceptive counselling. Provision of accurate and adequate information about abortion methods and modern contraception was the dominant shortfall in abortion care. Future work needs to address this gap by developing appropriate and effective interventions and informative tools for women in the Cambodian garment industry.

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