The unmeet need for family planning is a very useful tool in measuring and predicting the contraceptive needs of a population. A descriptive cross sectional study of 356 women attending the antenatal clinic of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Nigeria, was carried out to determine the level of unmeet need and its determinants. Three hundred and forty (95.5%) of the respondents had knowledge about family planning, while 260 (73.3%) had ever used a modern method. There is a significant lag between the knowledge and use of the common methods of family planning. Ninety eight out of 356 pregnancies (27.5%) were unintended. Seventy six of the unintended pregnancies were due to non use of contraceptives hence an unmeet need of 21.4% with 15.2% for spacing and 6.2% for limiting. Husband’s disapproval (36.8%), fear of side effects (28.9%) and religious beliefs (14.8%) were the main constraints to the use of contraceptives. There is a significant association between parity and unmeet need. Age, level of education, religion and husband’s occupation had no significant effects. There is great need to intensify reproductive health education and include men in programs and policies designed to improve family planning practices in Nigeria.
Key words: Family planning, unmet need, antenatal women.
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