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

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Alomair, Noura
Alageel, Samah
Davies, Nathan
Bailey, Julia V
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Contraception , Culture , Family Planning , Islam , Religion , Reproductive Health , Sex Education , Sexual Health , Systematic Review , Women Health
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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.
Alomair, N., Alageel, S., Davies, N., & Bailey, J. V. (2020). Factors influencing sexual and reproductive health of Muslim women: a systematic review. Reproductive health, 17(1), 33. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12978-020-0888-1
Reproductive Health
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