Factors influencing contraceptive use and unplanned pregnancy in a South African population

Bafana, Thembelihle Nonsikelelo Sinqobile
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Background: The knowledge of contraceptive use is high among men and women in South Africa. However, contraceptive prevalence rate is moderate and unplanned pregnancies are common. Understanding the determinants of contraceptive use and unplanned pregnancy will inform future interventions that aim to maintain consistent contraceptive use and reduce unplanned pregnancies. Aim: The study aims to describe factors associated with contraceptive use and unplanned pregnancy in the South African population. Methods: A secondary data analysis was carried out on data collected in a cross–sectional survey conducted in Potchefstroom, South Africa between August 2007 and March 2008.Results: Contraceptive prevalence was 69.5% and unplanned pregnancy was 59.7%. The risk factors for contraceptive use included woman’s employment status at the last pregnancy, woman’s partner employment status at the last pregnancy and number of miscarriages a woman had experienced. The risk factors for unplanned pregnancy included race, woman’s age , education level and employment status at last pregnancy, number of miscarriages, contraceptive use and partner’s employment status at last pregnancy. Conclusion: If the prevalence of unplanned pregnancies is to be reduced, policies and programmes need to address economic factors which were associated with both contraceptive use and unplanned pregnancy. Further study needs to be carried out as to the reasons behind why a woman with a previous history of a miscarriage is less likely to have an unplanned pregnancy yet she is less likely to be on contraception.
MSc (Med), Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand
contraceptives, usage, unplanned pregnancy