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Prevalence and determinants of terminated and unintended pregnancies among married women: analysis of pooled cross-sectional surveys in Nigeria
  1. Sanni Yaya1,
  2. Agbessi Amouzou2,
  3. Olalekan A Uthman3,
  4. Michael Ekholuenetale4,
  5. Ghose Bishwajit1,
  6. Ogochukwu Udenigwe1,
  7. Alzahra Hudani5,
  8. Vaibhav Shah5
  1. 1 School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  3. 3 Warwick Centre for Applied Health Research and Delivery (WCAHRD), Division of Health Sciences, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
  4. 4 Department of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Faculty of Public Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
  5. 5 Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sanni Yaya; sanni.yaya{at}


Background Induced pregnancy termination and unintended pregnancy are two commonly occurring phenomena in the discipline of women’s reproductive health. In the present study, we explored cross-sectional data pooled from three rounds of Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) to understand the trends of prevalence of pregnancy termination and unintended pregnancy as well as the interplay of various sociodemographic and economic factors whereby these health issues occur.

Methods Study participants were 79 825 currently married women aged 15–49 years. Data were collected from NDHS conducted in 2003, 2008 and 2013. Outcome variables were self-reported history of pregnancy termination and unintended pregnancy for the last birth. Data were analysed using descriptive and multivariable logistic regression methods.

Results Mean (±SD) age of the respondents was 28.7 years (±9.6). The overall prevalence of pregnancy termination and unintended pregnancy were about 11%. Older women had increase in the odds of terminated pregnancies, compared with women aged 15–19 years, while the converse was true for unintended pregnancy in the adjusted model. Educated women had significant higher odds of terminated and unintended pregnancies compared with women with no formal education. Women with higher wealth index were more likely to have unintended and terminated pregnancies after adjusting for other covariates. Remarkably, women who had unintended pregnancy were 1.47 times as likely to have terminated pregnancy compared with those who had no unintended pregnancy (OR=1.47; 95% CI 1.30 to 1.65). Experience of intimate partner violence had significant association with terminated and unintended pregnancies.

Conclusion The findings of this study showed that unintended and terminated pregnancies remain part of the issues to be addressed if the goal of ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages must be met. Stakeholders in Nigerian healthcare system should protect the lives of women who are vulnerable to the fatal consequences of unsafe abortion, especially in cases of rape, sexual assault, incest and where continuing a pregnancy would endanger the lives of women.

  • demographic and health survey
  • pregnancy termination
  • unintended pregnancy
  • women
  • Nigeria

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  • Handling editor Seye Abimbola

  • Contributors SY and ME contributed to the study design, the review of literature and analysis of literature, manuscript conceptualisation and preparation. AA, OAU, ME, OU, AH and VS critically reviewed the manuscript for its intellectual content. SY had final responsibility to submit for publication. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval The Nigerian DHS is conducted according to the local Nigerian research ethics requirements. Data for this analysis were accessed via the publicly available DHS data sets, with access granted through the DHS programme. As this was a secondary data analysis, further research ethics approval was not required; however, in accordance with DHS regulations, all data extracted from the NDHS for the purpose of this study were handled as confidential and survey respondents remained unidentified. This study conforms to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it first published. The licence type has changed from CC BY to CC BY NC.

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