BackgroundFamily planning is a cost-effective strategy for achieving population development. Family planning uptake is low in sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria. We assessed the perception, pattern of use, partner support and determinants of uptake of family planning methods among married women of reproductive age in rural communities of Ebonyi state.MethodsThis is part of a baseline report of a quasi-experimental study. A total of 484 married women of reproductive age were recruited using multistage sampling method. Four focus group discussions (men and women) and pre-tested semi-structured interviewer-administered questionnaires were used to collect information from the participants. Data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 software and thematic analysis. Chi-square test and logistic regression were carried out at 5% significance level.ResultsOnly 26.2% of respondents were currently using any method of family planning. The most commonly used method was the natural method (57%). Amongst those who reported using artificial methods, 32.7% used condoms, 27.3% used implant while 23.64 and 16.4% used injectables and pills respectively. Predictors of current use of any family planning method were: older age (AOR = 1.7, 95%CI = 1.01–3.00), having more than five children (AOR = 1.7, 95%CI = 1.05–2.83), minimum of secondary level of education for respondent (AOR = 3.3, CI = 1.60–6.96) and their husband/partner (AOR = 2.0, 95%CI = 1.05–3.92). Qualitative findings showed that only few families were using a method of family planning and those who did not practice family planning perceived it to interfere with God’s plan for fruitfulness and to be counter-productive to household income due to decreased manpower for agricultural activities. Poor partner involvement and support for family planning was also cited as a deterrent by both male and female participants.ConclusionsPerception and use of family planning methods is poor in rural communities of Ebonyi state. Improving uptake of family planning methods in these rural communities will require proper demographic targeting as well as debunking fatalistic views, and cultural and religious myths around family planning.