Only half of Maltese women plan pregnancy, local study finds


Only half of Maltese women who took part in a local survey said they had planned to become pregnant, and the same survey found that only one-third were using the most reliable method of contraception. bottom.

Data were collected through a survey for the MA in Gender, Society and Culture at the University of Malta. It shows that condoms and so-called birth control methods are the main methods of contraception.

Both of these methods have a higher failure rate than contraceptive methods such as the pill and place the burden of contraception on the involved male partner.

More than 3,000 people participated in the online survey.

Overall, condoms were the primary contraceptive choice of respondents at 30%. Nearly one-fifth choose a withdrawal method and 10% use natural family planning. Oral contraceptives and intrauterine devices, the most reliable methods, are used by 24% and 6% respectively.

A study by Francesca Fenech Conti, led by Marie Briguglio and Andrea Dibben, provides a 2022 ‘snapshot’ of women’s contraceptive use and family planning practices in Malta.

This is the first study of its kind and Fenech Conti hopes to encourage policy makers to investigate why so few women in Malta are using hormonal contraception.

It is just weeks after Health Minister Chris Fern pledged that the government would provide free contraceptives to the public starting this year. Prior to , she pledged to give away free pills and intrauterine devices if she wins.

Fennec Conti said Times of Malta International research shows that simply providing free contraceptives is not enough to ensure consistency of use. Provision must be accompanied by appropriate education, guidance and counseling by professionals appropriately trained in the field of family planning.

In writing her findings, Fenech Conti, founder of the Women for Women NGO, wrote that she believes strong family planning policies and contraceptive provision can help limit the number of illegal and unsafe abortions. He claims to be a Choice activist.

“The topic of family planning and contraception is very close to my heart. From personal experience, unplanned pregnancies, even if they are desired, can have a negative impact on the lives of women and their children. I know there is Times of Malta.

“I am also very distressed by the experiences of women I meet through NGOs because unplanned pregnancies can lead to abortion and poverty. Continuing to consume foods and drinks that may harm the health of your unborn baby may be affected.

Fenech-Conti added that contraceptive choices appear to be highly dependent on social, cultural and economic factors, including religion. She found a correlation between religious respondents and unreliable contraceptive methods such as natural family planning, condoms, and birth control methods.

Francesca Fenech Conti

unplanned pregnancy

58% of respondents who said they had been pregnant were asked a series of questions to determine, among other things, whether they were planning to become pregnant.

“Research shows that it is difficult for a woman who has a successful pregnancy to later claim that it was unplanned.

“This means that we received mixed responses. At least 23% of respondents explicitly admitted that they did not intend to become pregnant. It shows that we were not.”

When asked if they had planned to conceive in the previous month, 8% said they would not change their plans and 23% had no plans.

In response to another question, only 53% of respondents said they intended to become pregnant, the remaining 40% said they used contraceptives, and 7% chose not to answer.

The responses also show that 18% of women using withdrawal methods became pregnant, 12% of condom users became pregnant, and 5% became pregnant while using the pill.

1 in 4 report a miscarriage

More than one in four participants (28%) who reported a pregnancy had at least one miscarriage.

Fenech Conti will investigate this large proportion of miscarriages reported by respondents further, as research shows that it has long-term negative consequences, especially for women experiencing this traumatic life event. She suggests reviewing local post-abortion mental health support services.

According to the UK’s NHS, one in eight pregnancies end in miscarriage. More miscarriages happen before you realize you’re pregnant.

lancet A reported miscarriage in 2021 will affect 1 in 10 women in their lifetime.

in numbers

  • Only one-fifth of people not using contraception are pregnant or trying to conceive.
  • 18% said they do not use their preferred method of contraception because they cannot afford it.
  • Only 10% of respondents receive a prescription for contraception from public health services.
  • Of the 1,483 respondents who have had a pregnancy, 5.5% have had at least one abortion.

Research

Fenech Conti collected data from the responses of over 3,000 women who participated in a 10-minute online survey in early 2022. The platform she used for her survey limited her to one respondent per IP address.

Of these, 2,552 were Maltese women, including those who were assigned female at birth but may not have been. Further cleaning of the data left Fenech Conti with her 2,192 Maltese female respondents of reproductive age from 18 years to her 49 years.

A population of 113,200 women of reproductive age requires 1,819 respondents for a 99% confidence level and a 3% margin of error, whereas a sample with a 95% confidence level and a 5% margin of error requires We need 383 respondents. .

Fenech Conti said those under the age of 18 were excluded from the study because they require parental or guardian consent. Additionally, approximately 60% of respondents have higher education, in contrast to an estimated 30% of the local female population who actually have this level of education.

Almost 18% of the respondents were between the ages of 33-37, 16.8% between the ages of 28-32 and 16.8% between the ages of 38-42.

A total of 85% said they were in a stable relationship, 11% said they were single and 3% said they were in a casual relationship.

Half of the respondents said they were religious, but 61% said they had never attended a religious service.

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