Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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Maternal Deaths from Induced Abortions

Peter O. Adefuye, Adewale O. Sule-Odu, Adetola O. Olatunji, Mustapha A. Lamina, Olufemi T. Oladapo


Context: Unsafe abortion has grave implications for the life of a woman and her future reproductive career. Efforts to find the reasons underlying how a woman gets to the point of having an unsafe abortion, and means of preventing and minimising complications arising thereby are highly desirable.

Objective: To find the extent to which unsafe abortion contributes to maternal mortality in our environment.

Study Design, Setting and Subjects: A descriptive study of patients who were admitted for complications arising from induced abortions between January 1988 and December 2000 at Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, Nigeria with the data being obtained from case records.

Results: A total of 103 patients presented with complications arising from induced abortions. Twenty-one (20.4%) of these patients died as a result of complications arising thereby. During the same period, there were 71 deaths in the gynaecological ward. Thus, deaths from induced abortion accounted for 29.6% of all gynaecological deaths. There were 105 maternal deaths in the hospital during the period. Hence, induced abortions were responsible for 20% of all maternal deaths. The patients had various complications including 15 (71.4%) with septicaemia, 10 (47.6%) with anaemia, 7 (33.3%) each with jaundice and peritonitis.

Conclusion: Abortion-related maternal death is still a major contributor to maternal mortality in this environment. Women empowerment, easy access to good quality and cheap family planning methods and post abortion care and rationalisation of abortion law may help to halt this stream of deaths from unsafe abortions.

Key Words: Pregnancy, Unsafe Abortion, Maternal Mortality

[Trop J Obstet Gynaecol, 2003, 20: 101-104]
AJOL African Journals Online