Past and present contraceptive behavior of new Soviet immigrant women in Israel Academic Article uri icon


  • This exploratory research investigated past and current use of contraceptives among a purposive sample of 117 new immigrant women from the Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet Union). The findings confirm the widespread use of induced abortion (IA) as a method of birth control before immigration. Fifty-eight percent of the sample had had at least one IA, and the average was 2.7 IA. The most commonly used types of contraception before immigration were the pill, safe days, withdrawal, and the IUD. Currently used types of contraception were the IUD, safe days, withdrawal, and condoms; however only 45% of the sample were currently using any type of contraception. Of particular interest were the relatively high reported use of the pill before immigration and low current use, and the former low level of condom use and its increase in popularity in Israel. Despite the availability of more effective methods of birth control, safe days and withdrawal remain commonly used. The high cost of the pill was mentioned as a deterrent to its current use. Despite the high prior level of IA, the majority of women in this sample (84%) preferred today to use other birth control methods, and would like the opportunity to receive professional advice. These findings support the need for educational efforts directed toward new immigrant women from CIS. PIP In early 1992 in Israel, 117 recent Jewish immigrant women from Belarus, Russia, and the Ukraine completed a questionnaire designed to examine their past and current contraceptive behavior. The mean number of months in Israel was 2.7 months. The mean number of children among the 90 women with children was 1.74 (range 1-5). 58.1% of all 117 women had had at least one induced abortion. The mean number of induced abortions per woman was 2.7 (range 1-12). More than 40% of women who had had at least one induced abortion had at least 3 induced abortions. 104 women were or had been married, or had a steady partner. The most frequently used family planning methods in the past were oral contraceptives (OCs) (33.7%), safe days (24%), withdrawal (15.3%), and IUD (15.3%). Only 4% used condoms in the past. Current family planning methods used included IUD (23%), safe days (23%), withdrawal (18.3%), and condoms (13.5%). Only 2.9% currently used OCs. The mean number of methods currently used was 1.8. Reasons for not using contraception before immigration were: not safe (18%), reduced sexual pleasure (11%), not available (9%), no steady sexual partner (7%), and desire to conceive (5%). After immigration, reasons for not using contraception were too expensive (11%) (especially OCs) and not safe (9%). 84% preferred to use contraception rather than undergo an induced abortion. 62% wanted professional advise on contraception. These findings illustrate the need to provide new immigrant women from the Commonwealth of Independent States with accurate information about the health effects of various family planning methods.

publication date

  • February 1, 1994