The aims of the study were to explore the contraceptive practices of married adolescent girls in rural Upper Egypt and identify the determinants of their ever use of modern contraception.
The study was a household survey of 729 married adolescent girls in 23 villages of two governorates in Upper Egypt. Listing and enumeration of all households in the selected villages were performed prior to data collection, to recruit married adolescent girls below 20 years of age. The girls were interviewed using a structured questionnaire.
Only 6% of married adolescent girls were using a modern contraceptive method; 10.6% had ever used a modern contraceptive method, mostly a short-acting method. Considerable proportions of participants believed that using contraception would reduce a woman’s fertility and that women should not delay their first pregnancy (34% and 54.3%, respectively); only 50.2% believed that contraception could be used for birth spacing. Predictors of the ever use of a modern method of contraception among married adolescent girls were: accepting that contraception could be used for birth spacing (B = 1.82, p < .001), older age (B = 0.42, p < .01), better reproductive health knowledge (B = 0.23, p < .05) and sharing in contraceptive decision making (B = 0.55, p < .05).
Married adolescent girls’ current use and ever use of modern contraception were very low in rural Upper Egypt. Changing the social norms to create the desire to delay first childbirth, improving adolescent girls’ reproductive health knowledge, correcting myths about contraception and building girls’ agency to use contraception may increase their contraceptive use.