Pregnancy Experiences of Female Sex Workers in Adama City, Ethiopia: Complexity of Partner Relationships and Pregnancy Intentions

Stud Fam Plann. 2017 Jun;48(2):107-119. doi: 10.1111/sifp.12019. Epub 2017 Mar 6.


Research and programs for female sex workers (FSWs) tend to focus exclusively on HIV prevention, with little attention paid to how pregnancy affects their lives. We examine the circumstances surrounding pregnancy and childbirth among women selling sex in Ethiopia. In Adama City, researchers asked 30 FSWs aged 18 and older who had ever been pregnant to participate in in-depth interviews. The women reported on pregnancies experienced both before and after they had begun selling sex. They identified some of the fathers as clients, former partners, and current partners, but they did not know the identities of the other fathers. Missed injections, skipped pills, and inconsistent condom use were causes of unintended pregnancy. Abortion was common, typically with a medication regimen at a facility. Comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services should be provided to women who sell sex, in recognition and support of their need for family planning and their desire to plan whether and when to have children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraception Behavior / psychology
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Family Planning Services*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned*
  • Sex Workers / psychology*
  • Young Adult