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Contraceptive access experiences and perspectives of Mexican-origin youth: a binational qualitative study.

  • Mitchell, Ashley
  • Gutmann-Gonzalez, Abigail
  • Brindis, Claire D
  • Decker, Martha J
Publication Date
Jul 19, 2023
eScholarship - University of California
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Access to comprehensive contraceptive services for youth is essential to improving sexual and reproductive health. However, youth in many countries still face substantial obstacles to contraceptive access and use. The purpose of this study is to compare the contraceptive access experiences and perspectives of pregnant and parenting Mexican-origin youth in Guanajuato, Mexico, and Fresno County, California. Focus groups and in-depth interviews were conducted in Spanish and English among female youth in Mexico (n = 49) and California (n = 25). Participants also completed a brief sociodemographic survey. Using a modified grounded theory approach, qualitative data were coded and thematically analysed based on Penchansky and Thomas's Theory of Access, and results were compared by location. Although knowledge of a service provider was high among youth in both locations, access was affected by social, cultural, and institutional dynamics and contraceptive use was mixed. Across locations, participants described obstacles to accessing their preferred method. Participants worried about parental and peer opinions about their use of contraception (acceptability), and about perceived side effects including infertility and pain (adequacy). Contextual differences included lack of contraceptive choice in Guanajuato (availability) and incomplete knowledge about options in Fresno County (awareness). The power to request and receive their method of choice (agency) emerged as an important dimension that was not part of the original theory. Latina youth living in Mexico and the United States face multiple challenges accessing needed contraceptive options and services. Recognising and reducing these barriers can strengthen the contraceptive care landscape and promote the reproductive health and agency of young people. DOI: 10.1080/26410397.2023.2216527Plain language summary: Although sexually active youth need access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, youth in many countries face substantial barriers to care. This study compares the experiences of pregnant and parenting youth in accessing contraceptive services in Mexico and the United States. We conducted interviews and focus groups with 74 Mexican-origin young women and found that contraceptive use and access was affected by their concerns about parental and peer opinions as well as by provider attitudes. In Mexico, several participants reported being denied their preferred method by their provider. Identifying and addressing barriers to services can improve the quality of care and the reproductive health of young people.

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