Dr. Sylvia Deganus
Pregnancy within wedlock is one of the most exciting experiences for many couples. When a couple live together for a longer period without an issue, family members and society at large exert some amount of pressure on them to have children - an experience that is grueling for many couples.

This excitement of childbearing, however, seems to end for many after the first child is born as subsequent pregnancies are almost a nuisance for some couples for varied reasons, especially when it is unplanned.

A worrying development Weekend Finder has gathered is that married women top the list of people who go for regular abortions - some of which are unsafe leading to maternal deaths.

“That has always been a problem. We have always focused on the unmarried women, the perception is that it is the single women who do abortions, but that is not the reality”, Dr Sylvia Deganus, an Obstetrician-Gynecologist Specialist at the Tema General Hospital told Weekend Finder.

Strangely, Dr. Sylvia Deganus said some married women use abortions as their means of family planning due to negative perceptions they have about some of the family planning methods available.

“Rather than use the family planning methods to prevent pregnancy they are scared of many family planning methods, and it is always because of our mentality about family planning," she added

According to her, the most negative perceptions people have about family planning methods is the fear of becoming infertile.

“And so the women are afraid to use family planning methods, and they, therefore, don’t prevent it and then they end up having pregnancies they are not ready for and end up aborting it”, she stated.

She, however, added that in spite of the high numbers of married women who go for abortions, they are more likely to go for safer methods than singles.

Complications are however more profound among single women because “the married woman is more likely to be employed, more likely to have partner support in their decision and, therefore, less likely to go for an unsafe method of abortion” she stated.

For some, especially the corporate women who juggle between work and caring for newborn babies comes with an added responsibility which they are mostly not prepared for.

Most of them are unable to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the prescribed period of six months which naturally protects them from getting pregnant.

Most of these women realize just within three to four months after childbirth that they are pregnant again.

“This is why we counsel women who cannot do exclusive breastfeeding to go for early family planning methods," Dr. Deganus emphasised.

Reports indicate that unsafe abortions account for about 14% all maternal deaths.

Figures obtained from the Korle-Bu Teaching hospital indicate that a total of 3,035 cases of abortions in various forms were recorded in 2014 alone.

Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 47 million women perform abortion annually, with 36,000 of them dying.

Out of the worldwide figure, 20 million are classified as unsafe, and 98% of this occurs in sub-Sahara Africa.

Source: The Finder

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