Serbia: transition from traditional to modern contraception or not?

Mirjana Rasevic, Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade

The several decades continuing reproductive health problem of Serbia’s population lies in the widespread conservative birth control method in which reliance on coitus interruptus prevails. Traditional contraceptive means and methods, largely incorporated in the system of values, became a natural part of sexual relations and represented a rational preventive choice from the individual standpoint. Consequentially, when pregnancy is unwanted or cannot be accepted, abortion is used as a resort, hence the long history of a large number of abortions in our country. Are there any differences among generations regarding conception prevention? The results of a representative research on the state of health of Serbia’s population carried out in 2006 indicate that the largest number of women, who are at risk of becoming pregnant at the beginning and the end of their reproductive period, reply on traditional contraceptive methods. Namely, modern contraceptive methods (condoms, combined oral contraception, intrauterine devices) are used by every 9th women in partner relations between the ages of 20 to 24, in comparison with every 8th woman between 45-49 years old. The stated findings open numerous questions among which the most important one is: why has there not been any change towards the usage of modern and efficient contraception among young partners? Some answers are imposed. Among them, the most important ones are that traditional contraception and abortion have a firm social confirmation and that there is a transgeneration transfer of psychological resistance towards the use of contraception pills and intrauterine devices. Apart from that, sexual education has never become a natural way of growing up in the family, nor is a constituent part of school programs. Finally, by relying on coitus interruptus the contact with the physician is avoided as well as the conflict between sexuality and technology, and with the partner as well.

Presented in Session 26: Contraception and Induced Abortion in Europe