Women’s Agency and Perception of Vulnerability: A Qualitative Analysis of Breastfeeding, Contraception and Food Insecurity in Burkina Faso

Kathryn Grace, University of Utah
Amy Lerner, Princeton University
Gabriel Sangali, Université de Ouagadougou

Because pregnant and breastfeeding women require more calories than other women, they are anticipated to be the least capable of physically coping with reduced calories that may come as a result of food insecurity. However, research addressing women's own decisions of when to avoid pregnancies or when to stop breastfeeding and how these decisions are impacted by reduced food availability have not been explored. The goal of this research is to examine pregnancy and breastfeeding behaviors with attention to the vulnerability brought about by food insecurity in Burkina Faso, a country characterized by high food insecurity and some of the highest fertility rates on the planet. We use recently collected qualitative data from focus groups conducted with Burkinabe women. The focus groups explore questions relating to breastfeeding and contraceptive use and aim to uncover patterns in the perspectives of the participants regarding their experiences with food insecurity and reproductive decision-making.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 4: Migration and Urbanization; Population, Development and the Environment