Prevalence and risk factors for unintended pregnancy in Tigray, Ethiopia

  • Tesfay Gebrehiwot
  • Isabel Goicolea
  • Miguel San Sebastian
  • Yirgu Gebrehiwot
  • Misganaw Afework


Aims: In developing countries, unintended pregnancies result in approximately 25 million births annually. A further 46 million unintended pregnancies are aborted, often in an unsafe manner. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and determinants of unintended pregnancy among women of reproductive age in Tigray, Ethiopia.

Methods: This study used a community-based, cross-sectional design. The total sample comprised 473 women of reproductive age. The data was collected using a structured, preexisting questionnaire. A multi-stage sampling technique was employed. Women who were pregnant at least once in the 3 years prior to the distribution of the survey were included. Bivariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed to determine the impact of each factor on the occurrence of unintended pregnancy.

Results: The survey had a response rate of 94.6% (n = 473). The mean age of the study participants was 28.3 ± 6.2 years. Sixty-two women (13.1%) had experienced at least 1 unintended pregnancy. Factors associated with unintended pregnancy included being divorced (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 3.74 [1.63,8.61]) or separated (AOR 2.32 [1.0,5.39]), having 2 to 3 (AOR 19.76 [4.34,89.9]) or 4 pregnancies (AOR 61 [10.3,360.52]) and sexual abuse (AOR 1.99 [1.00,4.02]).

Conclusions: Though most women attest to receiving information on family planning, the rate of unintended pregnancy remains high. Significant effort is needed to counsel and empower women in order to effectively prevent sexual abuse. Special attention should be given to raising awareness about emergency contraceptives.

How to Cite
Gebrehiwot, T., Goicolea, I., San Sebastian, M., Gebrehiwot, Y., & Afework, M. (2019). Prevalence and risk factors for unintended pregnancy in Tigray, Ethiopia. AMSA Journal of Global Health, 13(2), 8-18. Retrieved from
Original Research