Constructing natural fertility: the use of western contraceptive technologies in rural Gambia

C. H. Bledsoe, A. G. Hill, U. D'Alessandro, P. Langerock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Based on a 1992 survey, this study examines the use of Western and traditional contraceptives in rural Gambia in what appears to be a classic natural fertility population of women with regular birth intervals, strong desires for children, and exceedingly low use rates of Western contraception. The authors find that while women are not trying to reduce fertility, they are seeking to maintain regular birth intervals of around two and a half years through the strategic use of high-technology Western contraceptives. Western contraception is much more important in shaping patterns of fertility than cross-sectional data would suggest because most contraception occurs for spacing purposes, hence practiced for very short slices of time in the birth interval. The study shows that women's birth spacing actions are highly intentional and that the kinds of contraceptive strategies they employ vary considerably by parity. -Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-113
Number of pages33
JournalPopulation & Development Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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