This study aims at examining the prevalence and risk factors for unintended pregnancies among selected married women in Damote Gale Woreda (a district in Southern Ethiopia). A multistage sampling technique was used to select women respondents in the reproductive age group of 15 to 49 years. Quantitative and qualitative data were obtained using structured questionnaires, focus group discussion and key informants interview. The dependent variable is unintended pregnancy. Demographic, socio-cultural and service related characteristics were used as explanatory variables. Of 713 women surveyed, 302(42.4%) reported that their most recent pregnancies were unintended. Most of the women (89%) knew at least one modern family planning (FP) methods. Further, we found that 84% of the women have never discussed with husbands about issues concerning FP, and 80% of women have never been visited by health workers. Major reasons mentioned for failure to avoid unintended pregnancy were lack of knowledge, disapproval by husband, difficulty to get method and method failure. The predicted probability, using logistic regression, has shown that women with delayed age at marriage, with lower parity, women exposed to radio, women who discus about FP issues with husband; those who have autonomy on their health care and those visited by FP workers are less exposed to unintended pregnancy. Finally, based on the key findings, some workable recommendations are given which includes: sustainable behavioral changes among community members, reforms in disseminating family planning and related information, enhancing women’s status at all levels through formal and non-formal education, strengthening the follow up system on FP workers and beneficiaries, improving inter-spousal communication through peer or informal education and community level orientation.
Key words: Unwanted pregnancy, contraception, determinants, Southern Ethiopia, Damot Gale.
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