Contraception in the Roma population living in two low-income neighborhoods of Barcelona (Spain)

Alba Asensio, Laia Nebot, Lluïsa Estruga, Glòria Perez, Èlia Diez

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Objective: To describe the knowledge and use of contraceptive methods and health services in the Roma population (Kale/Spanish Gitanos) of two low-income neighbourhoods of Barcelona (2011-2015). Method: Mixed. Community setting. 1) Descriptive cross-sectional study. We interviewed with a questionnaire a sample of residents of childbearing age. We compared the knowledge and use of contraception and services by ethnic self-identification and sex with adjusted logistic regression models to obtain adjusted odds ratio (ORa) and 95% confidence interval (95%CI). 2) Qualitative descriptive study with ethnographic method. We interviewed 10 Roma residents and three health professionals to explore aspects of contraception, family and roles. We performed a narrative analysis of discourse from the recorded texts. Results: 834 people participated, with an 11.8% self-identified Roma population. With regard to the non-Roma population, more Roma women used tubal ligation (ORa: 3.0; 95%CI: 1.3-7)] and implant (ORa:4.9; 95%CI: 3.1-72), and had better knowledge of IUD (ORa: 2,4; 95%CI: 1,4-4,1), tubal obstruction (ORa: 3,3; 95%CI: 1,1-9,9) and injectables (ORa: 2,4; 95%CI: 1.3-4.4). Roma men used withdrawal more frequently (ORa: 3.6; 95%CI: 1.3-10), a practice confirmed in the qualitative study. Both communities used emergency contraception and health services. In the Roma population, contraception and reproduction are in the hands of women. As abortion is culturally penalized in the Roma population, women use it, but they face it alone. Conclusions: Gender emerged as a cross-cutting determinant in all issues explored. In the Roma population reproductive control and contraception remain the responsibility of women. Once the family is complete, Roma women use long-term contraception. Both populations use health services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-126
Number of pages8
JournalGaceta Sanitaria
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Contraceptives
  • Ethnic minority
  • Gender and health
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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