Background of study

Family planning is a concept or process that deals with child birth control using contraception. It entails decisions made by women and men concerning their representative health choices in timing, spaces and in what circumstances they have their families. Family planning is a way of thinking and living that is adopted voluntarily upon the basis of knowledge, attitude and responsible decisions by individuals and couples in order to promote the health and welfare of the family group thus contributing to the social development of the country (WHO, 2013).

Family planning allows individuals and couples to anticipate and achieve their desired number of children and spacing and timing of their births, through the use of contraceptives and treatment of involuntary infertility (WHO, 2013). Couples needs to have the number of children that they can adequately cater for and to prevent the attendant problems that are associated with too many children such as poverty, drop in standard of living poor health and economic hardship. Over three decades ago, family planning was a taboo in Nigeria and indeed many African countries. Children were seen as gifts from God and any attempt at birth control was seen as sinful. Today, the climate is changing in favour of family planning with a wider acceptance (Ikechebelu et al., 2005).

Fortunately, majority of Nigeria women are aware of family planning but very few of them make use of it for birth control. Different factors such as culture, law, education, poverty and poor access among other numerous factors have been identified by scholars to militate against the use of family planning methods (USAID, 2008).

The current realization that large population can hold back socio-economic development has led to quest for information and services about family planning. An estimated 222 million women in developing countries would like to delay or stop childbearing but are not using any method of contraception (Obisesan et al., 2008).

Reasons for this include;

  1. limited choice methods
  2. limited access to contraception, particularly among young people
  3. fear of experience side effects
  4. cultural or religious opposition
  5. poor quality of available service
  6. Gender-based barriers. WHO family planning fact sheet (2013)

Women worldwide are exposed to risk of unwanted pregnancies as a result of ineffective or non-use of contraception. Women who are able to use known contraceptive methods are able to decide if and when they want children as well as how many they want. Contraceptive practices entail contraceptive use or non-use, discontinuation of contraception and/or failure to use any of the contraceptive methods according to a specified set of guidelines.

Reproductive health occupies a central position in the identity of the health as well as the development of a given population. However, the events of reproductive health are usually found in women who due to their biological function invariably bear the greater burden of the shortcomings of reproductive health such as unsafe motherhood or unsafe abortion. In developing countries especially in Nigeria, there is no need to improve material and child health care services as most deaths of women during pregnancy or delivery are preventable (Odegbola and Ogedengbe, 2008).

The government is encouraged to increase investment in family planning as an integral part of the integrated maternal newborn and child health and as national priority while sustaining its free contraceptive policy. The culture of a given people influence their way of life and behavior. Cultural issues such as desire for large family size, male preference, wife inheritance, superstitious belief and misconceptions and monogamy/polygamy affect the practice of family planning (Henshaw, 2003).

Statement of the problem

During the period of my community posting as a 500level nursing student of AAU in Esan West LGA, I observed that women coming to clinic for immunization, during health talk do not know anything about family planning despite the availability and potency of measures at their disposal. This kept me pondering on the reason for them not embracing it, is it that they do not know about it, where to get information or are there other factors impeding the utilization of family planning measures? Hence, the researchers want to know or find out the basics of knowledge, attitude and use of family planning (contraceptive) among the women in Esan West Local Government Area.

Objectives of the study

  1. to explore participant’s knowledge of family planning
  2. to identify women level of utilization of family planning
  3. to identify factors influencing the usage and non-usage of modern family planning methods by couples.

Significance of study

The importance of the study will be of great use to health workers, couples, women and community as follows;

  1. It will provide a tremendous increase in the knowledge of health workers about the attitude of women towards family planning.
  2. It will enhance the knowledge of the couples and community of the importance towards family planning.
  3. It will help to determine the knowledge and attitude in the use of contraceptives among women.
  4. It will enable us to know the modalities for further educating the women on different forms of contraceptives and proper use of such contraceptives.
  5. To enlighten couples and communities to see family planning as very important to have children by choice and not by chance.

Research Questions

  1. How knowledgeable are participants about family planning?
  2. What are the various devices used in family planning?
  3. What are the factors influencing the utilization of these family planning?

Research Hypothesis

  1. There is no significance relationship between knowledge and client’s acceptance of family planning.
  2. There is no significant relationship between cultural belief and client acceptance of family planning.

Scope of study

The study is delimited to evaluate knowledge and use of family planning among any childbearing women in Esan West Local Government Area.



Operational definition of terms

  1. Client: a person that seeks advice from a health professional.
  2. Community: a group of people living in the same geographical location or boundary having similar conditions, interests, problems and working together to achieve a common goal.
  3. Culture: this is the way of life of a people in a given community
  4. Religion: the system of belief in the worship and existence of a supernatural being or power.
  5. Attitude: this refers to the behaviour of women towards family planning either positive or negative which influence their usage of their available services.
  6. Knowledge: it refers to the degree of awareness and understanding of family planning and available family planning services.