Background: The gap between women’s reproductive intention and contraceptive behavior could be attributed to the increasing rate of unintended pregnancies globally. The present study was conducted to explore nursing mothers’ perception of contraception,
identify the pattern of contraceptive uptake, examine the variations in pregnancy intention, and ultimately, to identify factors influencing contraceptive uptake and pregnancy intention in Nigeria.
Methods: The current study adopted sequential explanatory mixed method. We collected the quantitative data from 400 nursing mothers in Irewole and Ife Central Local Government Areas of Osun State, Southwest Nigeria employing semi-structured
questionnaire. Our nursing mothers were selected through multi-stage sampling technique. This excluded mothers whose index child were older than 2 years old. Focus Group Discussion was conducted with use of focus group discussion guide was conducted for the qualitative survey. Eight discussants selected by convenient sampling participated in each session. We analyzed
the quantitative data using SPSS software at univariate, bivariate and multivariate levels. Binary and multinomial regression analysis examined the association between dependent and independent variables while the level of significance was considered
at p < 0.05. The qualitative findings were reported thematically.
Results: The participants in this work perceived that inappropriate contraceptive use influenced pregnancy intention, 8.5% of the nursing mothers used barrier method of contraception, 9.5% used intrauterine device, 4% hormonal pills, 8% hormonal injections,
6.5% implants, 1% calendar methods, and 0.5% traditional methods whereas 62% did not use any form of contraception. About 37% of the nursing mothers had previous pregnancies unintended, 52% were ambivalent while 11% had their pregnancies
planned. Age (P=0.02, relative risk ratio (RRR)=0.42, CI=0.20-0.87), parity (P=0.001, RRR=10.38, CI=3.27-32.92), ethnicity (P=0.002, RRR=0.13,CI=0.03-0.48), and religion (P=0.048, RRR=0.26, CI=0.07-0.99) were the main predictors of pregnancy
intention while Islamic religion (P=0.02, OR=2.23, CI=1.16 - 4.26) and grand multiparty (P=0.01, OR=3.61, CI=1.37-9.51) significantly influenced contraceptive choices.
Conclusion: Nursing mothers’ parity, age, religion and ethnicity were the main predictors of pregnancy intention, among which religion and parity significantly influenced contraceptive choices. These variables should be incorporated into future intervention
programs which aim to develop effective strategies towards improving uptake and utilization of reproductive health services