Original Research

Contraceptive use in women with mental illness in Soweto, South Africa

Lisa J. Galvin, Yvette M. Nel
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 30 | a2153 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v30i0.2153 | © 2024 Lisa Jane Galvin, Yvette Margaret Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 July 2023 | Published: 25 January 2024

About the author(s)

Lisa J. Galvin, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; and Perinatal HIV Research Unit, Wits Health Consortium, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Yvette M. Nel, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: The psychosocial and medical implications of unplanned pregnancy in women with mental illness (MI) are vast. International guidelines make clear recommendations about family planning for women with MI, particularly those exposed to known human teratogens; however, there is limited research related to contraceptive usage among women with MI.

Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of consistent contraceptive use and family planning education (FPE) among a population of women of childbearing age with MI.

Setting: This quantitative cross-sectional study was conducted at Chris Hani Baragwanath psychiatric unit in Soweto, South Africa.

Methods: A convenience sample comprising 190 eligible women of childbearing age with MI was employed for the study. The women were invited to participate by means of a structured questionnaire which was administered by the researcher. Clinical information was obtained from the patients’ medical records.

Results: Consistent contraceptive usage occurred in 44.7% of participants. Family planning education was low (26.8%). Relationship status was associated with using contraception consistently (p = 0.0229). Teratogen exposure was not associated with either contraceptive use or FPE. Family planning education was not associated with contraceptive use.

Conclusion: Women with MI may have increased risk for unplanned pregnancy if they are not in a relationship because of perceived lack of need for contraception.

Contribution: Family planning education must be prioritised in women with MI, especially among women prescribed teratogenic medication, highlighting the risks associated with unplanned pregnancy.


Keywords

mental health; mental illness; contraception; women; South Africa

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Metrics

Total abstract views: 360
Total article views: 171


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.