Individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 women between the ages of 40 and 55 who had not reached menopause and did not have a permanent method of sterilization. Data were coded using qualitative descriptive methods.
Three major themes were identified: 1) journey toward empowerment; 2) finding the right fit: evolution over time; and 3) anticipating a transition. Past experiences with or fear of side effects and hormones were common reasons to change or avoid certain contraceptive methods. Most participants were happy with their contraceptive method; however, those who were unhappy were more likely to vocalize fatigue at continuing to need contraception as menopause approached.
Approaching contraceptive counseling from a place that considers the journey with contraception over a reproductive life span will help identify how beliefs, perceptions, and attitudes of women affect their contraceptive practices and choices.