Knowledge, attitudes and contraceptive use among Muslim Bedouin women in southern Israel

Rim Abu Hani, Roni Peleg, Tamar Freud, Yulia Treister-Goltzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Bedouin community in southern Israel is an authentic Muslim population that lives in close proximity to the Jewish population and is covered by the same healthcare services. The main aim of the study was to assess the attitudes, knowledge and practice of contraception among Bedouin women of childbearing age in southern Israel. Additional aims were to compare the attitudes and knowledge among women who did and did not use contraceptives and between younger and older women. A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was carried out. The study population was comprised of women who visit a primary care clinic in the Bedouin village for any reason. It numbered 270 women with a mean age of 33.2 ± 6.6 years. The mean number of children was 5.0 ± 2.7, 27% were in polygamous marriages and 69% were married to relatives. The most recognized methods of contraception were pills and intrauterine devices (37.7%, each). Fourteen per cent of the women practiced the withdrawal method and 9% used breastfeeding for that purpose. The most common sources of knowledge on contraception were family (62% among uses and 69% among non-users), the media (58% and 50%, respectively) and healthcare providers (25% and 34%, respectively). The most common reasons for not practicing contraception were a desire to become pregnant (59%), fear of adverse effects (44%) and husband's opposition (28%). The desire to become pregnant is the main reason for not practicing contraception among women in the Bedouin community in the Negev. Participation of the husband in counselling, involvement of religious leaders can improve family planning. Education on the low rate of adverse effects and on the many health benefits of contraception can also improve adherence to the practice of contraception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-896
Number of pages8
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Bedouin
  • Islam
  • birth control
  • community health
  • contraceptive methods
  • family planning
  • reproductive behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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