oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - Characteristics of women having first-trimester termination of pregnancy at a district hospital in KwaZulu-Natal : original research

Volume 28, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1015-8782
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1084



Termination of pregnancy (TOP) is requested by some women for a variety of reasons and it is plausible that profiling their characteristics might help to target selected groups for counselling. This study aimed to determine the characteristics of women having a legal first-trimester TOP at a regional hospital in KwaZulu-Natal. The medical records of 254 women were retrospectively sampled and analysed from a total of 758 women who had a first-trimester TOP between January and December 2008. The women were aged 14-45 years (the most common age group was 20-29 years, a mean age of 25.3 years and a standard deviation of 5.9). The majority (75.6%) reported that they had at least one child who was alive, 1.6% had previously had a TOP, 93.3% were single and 28.4% resided outside the health district in which the hospital was situated. Eighty-nine per cent had not used contraception before the index pregnancy. Fifty-eight per cent requested a TOP between 9 and 12 weeks of gestation (a mean of 8 weeks). Ninety-six per cent had a TOP because of socio-economic reasons. All of the women received counselling prior to undergoing TOP. In our patient population, women who had a legal TOP in the first trimester were in their twenties, single, parous, sexually active, not on a contraceptive and of poor socio-economic status. Women with these characteristics should be targeted for appropriate counselling on reproductive health matters.

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