Maternal health professionals have reported that  low contraceptive prevalence rate in the country has been linked to an increase in unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions which leads to maternal deaths

Unsafe Abortions Fueling Female Infertility, Maternal Deaths  

Low contraceptive prevalence rate in the country has been linked to an increase in unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions by maternal health experts.

They cautioned that the continuous rise in unsafe abortions would lead to increased cases of infertility and maternal deaths in the country.

Nigeria presently has a maternal mortality rate of 1,047 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

However, figures from the National Demographic Health Survey, 2018, pegged the maternal mortality rate at 512 deaths per 100,000 live births.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, Nigeria’s 40 million women of childbearing age suffer high levels of health issues associated with childbirth.

Although Nigeria represents 2.4 per cent of the world’s population, UNICEF’s data shows that with a mortality rate of 576 per 100,000 live births, it contributes 10 per cent to maternal mortality globally.

A study on Trends and causes of maternal deaths at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, carried out between 2007 and 2019 by Joseph Olamijulo et al, highlighted hypertension, sepsis and haemorrhage as the leading causes of MMR.

The WHO, however, states that unsafe abortion is a leading but preventable cause of maternal deaths and morbidities.

It added that about 73 million abortions happen every year worldwide and six out of 10 of all unintended pregnancies ended in abortion, while 45 per cent of them were unsafe abortions.

According to Medline Plus, a medical website, abortion is a medical procedure to end a pregnancy.

It explains that it involves the use of medication or surgical procedures to remove the embryo or foetus and placenta from the uterus.

The website noted that unsafe abortion, however, is the termination of a pregnancy carried out by unqualified personnel and done without the WHO-recommended practice.

Meanwhile, abortion is illegal in Nigeria and only medically permissible when the life of the mother is in danger.

As a result of this, pregnant women with unintended and unwanted pregnancies tend to use over-the-counter prescriptions and secretly visit unskilled persons to terminate their pregnancy, leaving them at risk of complications and death.

The Gynaecologists noted that unintended or unplanned pregnancies are a major cause of unsafe abortion, adding that unwanted pregnancies could be caused by low usage of contraceptives, low socio-economic status, poverty, poor knowledge, unavailability and inaccessibility of family planning services.