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This study examined the impact of the side effects of hormonal contraceptives on women’s health capital, which determines their ability to supply labour to sustain livelihood in subsistent agricultural communities. The findings draw upon interview data of 179 married couples in rural Rwanda. Of 138 women who experienced side effects at the time of the survey, 54 women reported that such side effects impacted their agricultural labour supply and housework from 4.96 to 2.23 hours and 3.12 to 2.19 hours, respectively. The decrease in the women’s labour supply altered the intrahousehold labour allocation. On average, their husbands engaged in farming for 5.54 hours and housework for 0.80 hours per day. When the women were unable to supply labour, their husbands tended to allocate more time to housework and less time to farming. These findings infer that side effects could lead to the loss of women’s bargaining power in their family and access to resources by reducing their labour supply and contribution to the household economy, and these outcomes need to be further investigated in the future. Additionally, this study emphasizes/highlights the imperious need for contraceptive switching and side effect counselling for couples to mitigate potential side effects.
Key Words: Hormonal contraceptive, women’s labour supply, family planning, household economy