Estimating The Unplanned Pregnancies In Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, there are about 360,000 women becoming pregnant every year. But in this one out of three of these pregnancies are estimating to be unplanning pregnancies. As the United Nations Population Fund that when a pregnancy is unplanning or unintending, it can be detrimental to the woman and her family, including the expected child and other children, as well as to the health system and society at large.

But in 2017, about 326,000 live births took place in Sri Lanka. Around 49,000 (15%) of the mothers were over 35 years of age, with 127 maternal deaths being reporting in this year. Out of these maternal deaths, 28 mothers died due to the consequences of having an unplanned pregnancy. In this same year, the number of stillbirths reported was 1,770.

As efficient family planning is the medical recommendation to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Family planning saves lives, however, myths and misconceptions exist regarding the different methods including contraception, and the medical objective of family planning is often misinterpreted. This is why it is of utmost importance that policymakers are privy to the perceptions of key stakeholders regarding family planning services.

Unplanned pregnancies in Sri Lanka

However, according to the Demographic and Health Survey (2016), 35% of married women in Sri Lanka do not use contraception; and teenage pregnancies are at a rate of 4.6% with sub-national disparities of 5-8%. The 2015 National Guidelines on Post-abortion care further highlights that unsafe abortions make 10-13% of maternal deaths in Sri Lanka.

But there are many misconceptions around family planning. It must be understood that it is not about population control. Family planning is about empowering women and giving them the choice to take control of their own sexual and reproductive health. Family planning enables women to complete their education and pursue careers; thereby contributing towards a progressive and sustainably developed Sri Lanka.

Medical practitioners

The UN Agency is a national focal point in the FP2020 global partnership; which Sri Lanka joined in 2018, with the aim of empowering women and girls through increased investments in rights-based family planning. Family planning is essential to achieve this goal.

However, Sri Lanka Medical Association is the national professional medical association in Sri Lanka; which brings together medical practitioners of all grades and all branches of medicine. It is the oldest professional medical association in Asia and Australasia; with a proud history that dates back to 1887. that has been supporting the Government of Sri Lanka for close to 50 years in ensuring every pregnancy is needing; every childbirth is safe; and every young person’s potential is fulfilling.