Investigating social consequences of unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion in Malawi: the role of stigma

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2012 Sep:118 Suppl 2:S167-71. doi: 10.1016/S0020-7292(12)60017-4.


Malawian women in all sectors of society are suffering from social implications of unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion. Unwanted pregnancies occur among women who have limited access to family planning and safe abortion. A legally restrictive setting for safe abortion services leads many women to unsafe abortion, which has consequences for them and their families. In-depth interviews were conducted with 485 Malawian stakeholders belonging to different political and social structures. Interviewees identified the impact of unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion to be the greatest on young women. Premarital and extramarital pregnancies were highly stigmatized; stigma directly related to abortion was also found. Community-level discussions need to focus on reduction of stigma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / psychology*
  • Adolescent
  • Contraception
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Malawi
  • Male
  • Patient Safety
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted / psychology*
  • Public Opinion
  • Social Stigma*
  • Young Adult