Although modern family planning methods are readily available in Egypt at low cost, a considerable proportion of women still have an unmet contraceptive need. This study aimed to detect the risk factors of unmet contraceptive need among married women in the childbearing period in an underprivileged area in Cairo with high population density. A survey of 2340 women in the Marg district of Eastern Cairo was conducted utilizing home interviews. For every woman identified as having an unmet contraceptive need (n=174), the next two women identified with met contraceptive need were selected as controls (n=348).

The prevalence of unmet need was 7.4%. Risk factors identified were: the belief that contraception is religiously prohibited; poor interspousal communication about the desired number of children; husband opposition to contraceptive use; a previous history of unwanted pregnancy; and experiencing side effects from last contraceptive use.

The study concluded with a training physician to identify and counsel women who experience contraceptive side effects and a previous unwanted pregnancy and transmit clear media messages on the religious acceptability of contraceptive use.