Over a quarter of a million deaths can be averted by contraception
11th July 2012
A new study has claimed that the use of effective contraceptive methods could prevent approximately 272,000 maternal deaths from childbirth or dangerous abortions every year. Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health used a counterfactual modelling approach to imitate the World Health Organization's (WHO) maternal mortality estimation method. They then calculated the total maternal deaths that were avoided by contraceptive use across 172 different countries. The researchers extracted data from the WHO’s database for maternal mortality estimation, survey data for contraceptive use and information on births within females aged between 15 to 49 years of age. They also analysed general fertility rates from the United Nations 2010 World Population Prospects database. After the mammoth task of studying all of the information, the study authors claim that worldwide use of contraception manages to prevent 272,000 maternal deaths each year. This equates to roughly 38 deaths for every 100,000 women who are using effective contraception, such as Dianette. The estimate is equivalent to a 44% global decline in maternal deaths. The study has been published as part of a series of articles that are focusing on family planning by The Lancet, who produces medical journals and speciality journals in Oncology, Neurology and Infectious Diseases. In the report, the researchers comment, “If all women in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy use an effective contraceptive method, the number of maternal deaths would fall by a further 30%. Increasing contraceptive use in developing countries has cut the number of maternal deaths by 40% over the past 20 years. In developing countries, the risk of prematurity and low birth weight doubles when conception occurs within six months of a previous birth, and children born within two years of an elder sibling are 60% more likely to die in infancy than are those born more than two years after their sibling.” Around 355,000 women died in 2008 while giving birth or from illegal or dangerous abortion, according to the study. Other statistics show that during 1995 and 2000 there were an estimated 338 million pregnancies worldwide that were unplanned or unwanted (28% of the total 1.2 billion pregnancies in this timeframe). These pregnancies culminated in close to 700,000 maternal deaths (around one-fifth of maternal deaths during that period). With so many unplanned pregnancies and tragic unnecessary fatalities each year, it is inexplicable that an alarming number of men and women around the world still act careless in regards to using contraception. There are a wide variety of weird and wonderful Durex and Skins condoms that are available for men to try, and they are not expensive to buy. Not only do they prevent any unwanted pregnancies, condoms can also drastically reduce the risk of catching sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, herpes and gonorrhoea, which seem to be on the rise. In addition there are oral contraceptives for women such as Dianette, which is obtainable from Medical Specialists Pharmacy and works out from as little as just £9.99 per month.