Reducing unplanned pregnancy and abortion in Zimbabwe through postabortion contraception

Stud Fam Plann. 2002 Jun;33(2):195-202. doi: 10.1111/j.1728-4465.2002.00195.x.


In many countries, women treated for complications from spontaneous or unsafely induced abortion lack access to contraceptive services. As a result, many of them soon have a subsequent unplanned pregnancy or a repeat abortion, placing their health at increased risk. This report presents the results of a prospective intervention study on postabortion family planning conducted in the two largest public hospitals in Zimbabwe. Women at Harare Central Hospital, in the capital, received a postabortion family planning intervention, and Mpilo Central Hospital, in Bulawayo, served as the control site. The study cohort was 982 women, 527 of whom were followed for a 12-month period. During the follow-up period, significantly more women used highly effective methods of contraception, significantly fewer unplanned pregnancies occurred, and fewer repeat abortions were performed at the intervention site than at the control site. These results offer compelling evidence that ward-based contraceptive services provided to women treated for incomplete abortion can significantly reduce subsequent unplanned pregnancies. The results also suggest that postabortion family planning services can reduce the incidence of repeat abortion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / adverse effects
  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Contraception / methods
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data*
  • Contraception Behavior / psychology*
  • Family Planning Services / standards*
  • Family Planning Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Hospitals, Public
  • Humans
  • Marital Status
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Poverty
  • Pregnancy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Class
  • Zimbabwe / epidemiology