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In SSM - population health

Intra-uterine devices (IUDs) are a safe and effective method to delay or space pregnancies and are available for free or at low cost in the Indian public health system; yet, IUD uptake in India remains low. Limited quantitative research using national data has explored factors that may affect IUD use. Machine Learning (ML) techniques allow us to explore determinants of low prevalence behaviors in survey research, such as IUD use. We applied ML to explore the determinants of IUD use in India among married women in the 4th National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4; N = 499,627), which collects data on demographic and health indicators among women of childbearing age. We conducted ML logistic regression (lasso and ridge) and neural network approaches to assess significant determinants and used iterative thematic analysis (ITA) to offer insight into related variable constructs generated from a series of regularized models. We found that couples' shared family planning (FP) goals were the strongest determinants of IUD use, followed by receipt of FP services and desire for no more children, higher wealth and education, and receipt of maternal and child health services. Findings highlight the importance of male engagement and family planning services for IUD uptake and the need for more targeted efforts to support awareness of IUD as an option for spacing, especially for those of lower SES and with lower access to care.

Dey Arnab K, Dehingia Nabamallika, Bhan Nandita, Thomas Edwin Elizabeth, McDougal Lotus, Averbach Sarah, McAuley Julian, Singh Abhishek, Raj Anita


Couple dynamics, Family planning, IUD, India, Intra-uterine devices, Machine learning, Male engagement, NFHS, Reproductive health