Unplanned Pregnancy and Its Associated Factors

  •  Muslimah Yusof    
  •  Azah Abdul Samad    
  •  Maisarah Omar    
  •  Noor Ani Ahmad    


INTRODUCTION: Unplanned pregnancy is a major public health concern globally. Numerous studies found various factors that can predict or determine unplanned pregnancy. However, there were no studies that reported this problem in Malaysia. The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of unplanned pregnancy in Malaysia and the associated factors.

METHODS: This nationwide cross-sectional study targeted to women at postpartum period at government primary health care clinics throughout Malaysia. Structured questionnaire with face-to-face interview was used for data collection. The factors studied included mothers’ age, husband’s age, ethnicity, religion, marital status, education, occupation, household income, polygamous marriage, family support, contraception used, and disagreement of husband on contraception, smoking and alcohol consumption. History of emotional, physical and sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) were also studied.

RESULTS: A total of 5727 Malaysian postpartum mothers were involved in this survey. The prevalence of unplanned pregnancy was 42.9% (95% CI: 38.6, 47.4). The multivariate logistic regression revealed that older mothers aged 45-49 years old (aOR: 8.010; 95%CI: 1.909, 33.013) and Muslim mothers (aOR: 2.465; 95%CI: 1.432-4.241) were significantly associated with unplanned pregnancy. In terms of household income, mothers with less than RM1000 per month were 1.712 (95% CI: 1.080, 2.713) times more likely to have unplanned pregnancy. The other significant associated factor was history of emotional intimate partner violence; aOR [1.720 (95% CI: 1.011, 2.925)].

CONCLUSIONS: Unplanned pregnancies were observed to be higher among older Muslim women from low income family. A possibility of unmet need for family planning should be considered and appropriate intervention strategies planned for these at-risk population. 

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