- Gadow, EC; Jennings, VH; López-Camelo, JS; Paz, JE; Da Graça Dutra, M; Leguizamón, G; Simpson, JL; Queenan, JT; Castilla, EE; Brunoni, D; Carpena, L; Cedeno, R; Cosentino, V; Giraldo, A; Giugliani, R; González, B; Lerner, M; Lombardelli, R; Mussi, M; Nazer, J; Negri, C; Ostos, H; Pessoto, M; Rittler, M; Rueda, S; Salgado, L; Wolff, RL
- This investigation analyzed social and demographic characteristics of women having an unwanted or mistimed pregnancy (unintended pregnancies at the current time) in South America. A sample of 5135 women having had a normal non-malformed live-born infant were interviewed immediately postpartum at 18 hospitals participating in the Latin American Collaborative Study of Congenital Malformations (Spanish acronym: ECLAMC). Half (2568/5135 = 50%) reported that their pregnancies had been unintended, and, of those, 59.3% (1522/2568 = 59.3%) declared that they were trying to avoid conception. The latter group (n = 1522) was the main sample for this study. Patients were asked about their knowledge of when during the menstrual cycle conception is most likely to occur, their biomedical and social characteristics, the type of contraceptive methods used, their opinion of reasons for contraceptive failure, and their reasons for not using contraceptive methods. Among women with unintended pregnancies who attempted to avoid conception, only 61.6% were using contraceptive methods. Reasons given for not using contraceptives included health problems, lack of knowledge and lack of access to contraception. Women with unintended pregnancies who had not attempted to avoid conception were younger, often primigravid, less educated, and less knowledgeable concerning when during the cycle pregnancy is most likely to occur. Thus, reproductive health policies should be aimed at this target group.
- December 1, 1999
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