15 May 2008

Unwanted pregnancies rife

Twenty-eight million US women are at risk of having unwanted pregnancies, researchers say. In South Africa the number is also high, but for different reasons.

Each year, half of American women who would rather not get pregnant will have an unplanned pregnancy, often because they failed to use their contraceptive properly or forgot to use it at all, US researchers said. As a result, 28 million women in the United States are at risk for an unintended pregnancy, according to the study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute in New York.

Unwanted pregnancies in South Africa
In South Africa the picture is a lot different, and unwanted pregnancies are often the result of not using any contraceptives at all.

The programmes manager at Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa (PPASA), Nomalizo Tukwayo spoke to a group of South African woman currently undergoing unwanted pregnancies and reported the following results:
  • Often male partners are reluctant to use a condom because, they say it lessens the sensation during sex, is uncomfortable, or may cause a partner to be suspicious of the other – thinking that they might be having an affair.
  • Access to clinic facilities also restricts the use of contraceptives. Sometimes women have to travel far to reach a clinic, and often the queues are long and service is slow. It could take a woman as long as a day to get contraceptives.
  • A lot of woman also feel that oral or injected contraceptives have negative side effects, such as making you gain weight, or feel ill.

Understanding women's situations

Teen Parent Programme Report.

Unhappy with current method
The US study also found that many women are not satisfied with their current method of contraception, a problem that can lead to missing birth control pills or failure to keep a condom handy, for example.


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