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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


CRAVEIRO, Isabel  and  FERRINHO, Paulo. Representations of fertile aged women and health professionals about reproductive healthcare use. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2011, vol.13, n.2, pp.239-252. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objective Ascertaining poor and not poor women'srepresentations about fecundity and verifying how this affectedreproductive health care use (maternal health care and family planning), as well ashealthcare professionals'representationsabout "poor" womenfecundity patternsand reproductive healthcare use. Methods A qualitative study was carried out through interviews and focus groups. Specifically, eight interviews were held and two focus groups were run, giving a total of eighteen women from various socioeconomic backgrounds (living in poverty and not living in poverty). Both focus groups were run with healthcare professionals (nurses and doctors), giving a total of fifteen participants. Data was analysed by using content analysis identifying significant themes. Results Similarities were found between women from different social backgrounds, although some differences were also found, particularly about male partners'rolein family planning and planning pregnancies. Health professionals' attributedstandard featuresto "poor" individuals,i.e. immediacy, conditioning family planning practice and maternal health care use patterns. Conclusions The women and health professionals'representationsregarding fecundity, needs and ways of using reproductive health care (maternal health care and family planning) did not always coincide. Decision-makers'importance in realizing this fact must be emphasizedso that healthcare policies can be adaptedto vulnerable populations'texpectations and perceptions of need, thereby leading to the suitable use of reproductive healthcare and ultimately promoting equity in health.

Keywords : Reproductive medicine; social perception; inequality; health; women; Medicina reproductiva; percepción social; equidad en salud; genero; salud.

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