Knowledge About Complication And Practice Of Abortion Among Female Undergraduates

Sex Education Project and Seminar Material

Knowledge About Complication And Practice Of Abortion Among Female Undergraduates


This study was carried out to assess the knowledge of complication and practice of abortion among female undergraduates. An empirical review of the subject matter was carried out to identify the causes, complications, practices and possible prevention strategies. The study showed that the causes of abortion identified were shown to include economic reasons like poverty, socio-cultural factors like stigma from community, religion etc, educational qualification, healthcare services like poor quality and non-availability of health services, and legal restriction. Also, the complications of abortion to the reproductive health women were early complications including uterine perforation, infections and severe vaginal bleeding, late complications including secondary infertility, chronic pelvic pains, chronic pelvic inflammatory diseases and maternal mortality, maternal mortality, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic inflammatory disease. Lastly, the strategies to prevent abortion, the findings revealed the strategies to include; health education and counseling on the role of contraceptives, ensuring that family planning commodities are available, accessible and affordable at all levels of care, legal action and implementation for enhancement of reproductive health services, promotion of sex education and reproductive, and follow-up and counsel on post abortion family planning needs.The study concluded that health workers should be encouraged to keep recommending the use of these preventive services and health promoting decisions to female undergraduates, whether young or old. A deliberate effort should be made to expand the health education given in specialized areas of the hospital such as gynecology and antenatal clinics these preventive services.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Abortion is the commonest cause of bleeding in early pregnancy and is one of the major causes of maternal deaths worldwide. Worldwide an average of 35 in 1000 female undergraduates (15-49years) has an abortion each year. However this rate ranges from 10 per 1000 women in some countries to around 80 per 1000 women in others. Despite variations in the legal status of abortions in developed and developing countries, overall rates are quite similar for both. Approximately 210 million pregnancies that occur each year, an estimated 38% are unplanned and a further 22% results in abortions, source of information.
In developing countries, Nigeria inclusive, 182 million pregnancies occur yearly with an estimated 36% unplanned and 20% ending in unsafe abortion. Unsafe abortion has become a significant medical and social problem; most of them are performed by untrained personnel leading to height mortality and morbidity rate. Unsafe abortion is defined as a procedure for the termination of an unwanted pregnancy either by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment lacking minimal medical standards or both (Adesokan 2010).

World Health Organization (2011) estimated that each year nearly 42million women faced with unintended pregnancies have abortions of which 20million are unsafe, mostly in countries where abortion is illegal.

Approximately 68,000 women die annually as a result of complications of unsafe abortion and between two million and seven million women each year survive unsafe abortion but sustain long-term damage or disease like incomplete abortion, infection, sepsis, haemorrhage and injury to the internal organs such as puncturing or tearing of the uterus. The World Health Organization further states that abortion is safe in countries where it is legal but dangerous in countries where it is outlawed World Health Organization reports that in developed regions nearly all abortions 92% are safe, whereas in developing countries more than half 55% are unsafe. According to statistics the risk rate for unsafe abortion is 1/270 and is responsible for one in eight maternal deaths. Worldwide, 48% of all induced abortions are unsafe.

An article from the World Health Organization calls safe legal abortion a “Fundamental right of women, irrespective of where they live” and unsafe abortion a “silent pandemic”, the article further states that ending the silent pandemic of unsafe abortion is an urgent public health and human rights imperative. In some countries such as India where abortion has been legal for decades, access to competent care remains restricted because of other barrier making World Health Organization’s Global Strategy on Reproductive Health adopted by world health assembly in May 2004 to note that “As a preventable cause of maternal mortality and morbidity, unsafe abortion must be dealt with as a part of the maternal health and other international development goals and targets (WHO, 2011).

Abortion is illegal in Nigeria except to save a woman’s life. It is also common, and most procedures are performed under unsafe conditioned. In 1996, an estimated 610,000 abortions occurred in 25 percent of 1000 female undergraduates of which 142000 resulted in complications severe enough to require hospitalization. The number of abortions is estimated to have risen to 760,000 in 2006.

Unsafe abortions are a major reason of maternal mortality rate of 1100 deaths percent in 100,000 live births in Nigeria making more than 3000 women to die annually in Nigerian of unsafe abortion. Jelinska and Yanow (2008) further stated that high rate of unsafe abortion is as a result of unintended pregnancy and that is certainly the case in Nigeria. Estimated 6.8million pregnancies that occur annually in Nigeria one in five is unplanned and half of these end in an induced abortion (Jelinska & Yanow, 2018). This research will highlight the latest scientific evidence on the causes and consequences of unwanted pregnancy and induced abortion. Due to increased rate of maternal mortality and morbidity rate among female undergraduates (15-49years) in rural areas, therefore the researcher decided to carry out a study on the knowledge about complication and practice of abortion among female undergraduates.

1.2 Statement of Problem

The World Health Organization (WHO) defined unsafe abortion as a procedure for terminating a pregnancy per- formed by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment, not in conformity with minimal medical standards, or both (Ganatra, Tuncalp, Johnston, Johnson, Gulmezoglu, & Temmerman, 2014). About 97% of all global abortions between 2010 and 2014 occurred in low income countries (Ganatra, Gerdts, Rossier, Johnson Jr, Tunçalp, Assifi, &Bearak, 2017). The percent- age of unsafe abortions is higher in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws when compared with countries with more liberal laws. However, it must be noted that even in countries where abortion laws are liberal, some women still rely on unsafe abortions because of existing additional barriers such as onerous facility requirements, waiting periods, and parental consent laws (Jelinska, &Yanow, 2018). Though evidence available shows that self-management of abortions with the use of abortions pills (misoprostol alone or misoprostol in combination with mifepristone) can reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, inadequate information can lead to wrong dosages which will subsequently end in unsafe abortions (Ganatra et al., 2014). From the investigation made during communities and hospital-based experiences, it was found out that female undergraduates engage in unsafe abortion which leads to maternal mortality and morbidity. As a result, the researcher decided to carry out the research study on female undergraduates to assess their knowledge about complication and practice of abortion.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is the assessment of knowledge about complication and practice of abortion among female undergraduates.

The specific objectives are as follows;

  1. To determine the knowledge of unsafe abortion among female undergraduates
  2. To identify the effect of unsafe abortion on reproductive health of female undergraduates
  3. To identify the strategies to prevent unsafe abortion and its effect on the reproductive health of female undergraduates

1.4 Research Questions

The research questions are formulated based on the objectives and statement of problem to include;

  1. What is the knowledge of causes of unsafe abortion among female undergraduates?
  2. What is the effect of unsafe abortion on reproductive health of female undergraduates?
  3. What are the strategies to prevent unsafe abortion and its effect on the reproductive health of female undergraduates?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The findings from this study are of significance to the female undergraduates, the health sector and the society as a whole. Firstly, it will educate female undergraduates and women of childbearing age on effect of unsafe abortion and its effect on their reproductive health. Also, it will help to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, and encourage the women to use family planning facilities. Furthermore, it will help women to enjoy good health thereby maintaining good physical, mental, social and psychological wellbeing; as well as reduce the incidence of unsafe abortion and serve as a source for further studies. It is expected that the findings from this study will help stakeholders and health authorities to formulate policies and strategies in measures to improve safe abortion and promote healthy lifestyle and risk free behaviours among women of reproductive age.

Also, findings from the study will help policy makers in coming up with appropriate programmes and control measures that boost the health promotion among women. Finally, information gathered from this study will serve as a source of literature and guide for future research and as well serve as empirical reference for further studies.

1.6 Operational Definition of Terms

For the purpose of this study, the key terms have been defined as follows:


Refers to the expulsion or removal of an embryo before the stage of viability usually 28th weeks of gestation.

Morbidity Rate:

Refers to a figure that shows the susceptibility of a population to certain disease.

Mortality Rate:

Refers to the number of death per 1000 or other unit of population occurring from a disease condition.


Refers to the cessation of anything


Refers to an agent or something having healing properties


Is the stage or condition in which the body or a part of the body is invaded by a pathogenic agent which under favourable condition, multiplies and produce effect which are injuries.

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Knowledge About Complication And Practice Of Abortion Among Female Undergraduates


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