Women veterans' reproductive health preferences and experiences: a focus group analysis

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Female; Focus Groups; Health Care Surveys; Health Services Needs and Demand; Humans; Middle Aged; Patient Acceptance of Health Care; *Patient Preference; Physician-Patient Relations; Prejudice; Reproductive Health Services; United States; United States Department of Veterans Affairs; Veterans; Women; Women's Health Services


Maternal and Child Health | Military and Veterans Studies | Obstetrics and Gynecology | Women's Health


OBJECTIVE: Although women veterans are seeking care at the Veterans Administration (VA) in record numbers, there is little information regarding women veterans' experiences and preferences for reproductive health care services. We sought to characterize women veterans' experiences with, and preferences for, reproductive health services in the VA. METHODS: We conducted five focus groups with a total of 25 participants using a semistructured interview guide to elicit women veterans' experiences and preferences with reproductive health care. Women veterans' utilizing VA health care at two VA facilities who responded to advertisements were selected on a first-come basis to participate in the study. We analyzed transcripts of these audio-recorded sessions using the constant comparative method of grounded theory. RESULTS: Five main themes emerged from the focus group discussions: 1) Women veterans prefer VA women's clinics for comprehensive medical care; 2) Women veterans have had both positive and negative reproductive health experiences in the VA; 3) Women veterans experience knowledge gaps regarding VA coverage for reproductive health services; 4) Women veterans believe the VA should provide additional coverage for advanced infertility care and for newborns; and 5) Perceived gender discrimination shapes how women veterans view the VA. CONCLUSION: As the VA continues to tailor its services to women veterans, attention should be given to women's reproductive health care needs. All rights reserved.

DOI of Published Version



Womens Health Issues. 2011 Mar-Apr;21(2):124-9. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2010.11.002. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID