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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


STANBACK, John et al. Validation of a job aid to rule out pregnancy among family planning clients in Nicaragua. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2008, vol.23, n.2, pp.116-118. ISSN 1680-5348.

In Latin America, one of the most common barriers to family planning access is denial of services to women who present at clinics in the absence of menses. Where pregnancy tests are unavailable, many providers fear that nonmenstruating women may be pregnant and, worrying about possible harm to the fetus, require the woman to await the onset of menses before initiating a contraceptive method. In 2005, during a randomized trial of oral contraceptive users in Nicaragua, we assessed a job aid endorsed by the World Health Organization to help providers exclude pregnancy among family planning clients. Among 263 new, nonmenstruating clients, the job aid ruled out pregnancy for 60% of the women. Only 1% of the women were pregnant, and no woman identified by the job aid as "not pregnant" was pregnant. Provider fears that nonmenstruating clients are pregnant are usually misplaced, while fears that hormonal methods can harm fetuses are exaggerated.

Keywords : Family planning services; pregnancy; Nicaragua.

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