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Factors influencing sexual and reproductive health of Muslim women: a systematic review

Alomair, N; Algaeel, S; Davies, N; Bailey, J; (2020) Factors influencing sexual and reproductive health of Muslim women: a systematic review. Reproductive Health , 17 (33) 10.1186/s12978-020-0888-1. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: In Islamic societies, issues related to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) are rarely discussed and considered sensitive subjects. This review aimed to identify any personal, religious, cultural, or structural barriers to SRH service and education among Muslim women worldwide. Methods: A search for qualitative and quantitative studies was conducted on seven electronic databases. A narrative synthesis using thematic analysis was conducted. Results: Fifty-nine studies were included from 22 countries: 19 qualitative, 38 quantitative and two mixed methods. Many Muslim women have poor SRH knowledge, and negative attitudes which influence their access to, and use of SRH services. Barriers to contraception use among Muslim women included a lack of basic reproductive knowledge, insufficient knowledge about contraception, misconceptions, and negative attitudes. Women had negative attitudes towards family planning for limiting the number of children but not for child spacing, which reflected religious views towards family planning. Religious and cultural beliefs were barriers to contraception use and access to SRH services and information. Family and the community have a significant impact on women’s contraceptive use and access to SRH services. Husband and family opposition played a significant role in contraception access and use. Fear of stigmatization and being labelled as having pre-marital sexual relations among unmarried women acted as the main barrier to accessing contraception and seeking SRH information and services. Conclusion: The findings reveal that there are multiple levels of factors that influence Muslim women’s SRH. Poor SRH knowledge and practices among Muslim women is complex matter that is affected by personal, community, cultural, religious factors and existing policies and regulations. All these factors overlap and are affected by each other. There is an urgent need for interventions addressing modifiable barriers to SRH education and services to improve knowledge, informed choice and access to services to facilitate better sexual and reproductive wellbeing for Muslim women. It is important to note that while this review aimed to report findings on Muslim women, we acknowledge that significant variations exist within every culture and religion.

Type: Article
Title: Factors influencing sexual and reproductive health of Muslim women: a systematic review
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12978-020-0888-1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-0888-1
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10091919
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