oa Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases - Characteristics of women requesting legal termination of pregnancy in a district hospital in Hammanskraal, South Africa : research
Introduction : Worldwide, the most commonly reported reason stated by women for undergoing a termination of pregnancy (TOP) is to postpone or stop childbearing. The second most common cited reason is socio-economic concerns, which include a disruption to education or employment, lack of support from the father, a desire to provide schooling for existing children, relationship conflict, poverty, unemployment or the inability to afford additional children. There are particular characteristics for women that are associated with their reasons for opting to have a TOP. Thus, this study sought to determine the characteristics of women seeking a TOP at Jubilee Hospital, Hammanskraal, South Africa.
Method : A cross-sectional survey was performed on women presenting for a TOP. One hundred and fifty-five participants completed a self-report, standardised questionnaire on TOP.
Results : The mean age of the participants was 27.9 years. Most of the women were parity 1 or 2, widowed or single, unemployed, had completed high school, were living with their parents and were Christian. One hundred and thirty-three (85%) were undergoing their first TOP, 15 (10%) had had one previous TOP and 7 (5%) had had two or more previous TOPs. Most of the participants (74%) reported substantial conflict with their partner. Financial difficulties, the lack of a committed relationship and partner problems were common reasons given by the women for opting to undergo a TOP.
Conclusion : The women in this study were characterised as being young; poorly educated; unemployed; dependent on their parents; often already widowed or single; and, involved in a conflictual relationship with their intimate partner. Financial and relationship problems, not being ready to become a parent and the need to complete studying were reasons given for choosing to undergo TOP. Efforts should be made to target this group to ensure that they have access to reproductive health services.
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