‘Shock Pregnancies’: When Contraceptives Fail – Two Women Speak

Many women use contraceptives for family planning, however, why do some women get pregnant despite using various methods?

The number of women using contraceptives in the country increased from 56 percent in 2019 to 61 percent in 2020.

A Ministry of Health report – Performance Monitoring for Action (PMA) – found that many people use modern family planning methods.

Jane, not her real name, got pregnant after using an IUD (intrauterine device) or ‘copper coil’ for one month.She says after a month she fell sick, went to the hospital thinking it was malaria and after being tested, the doctor told her she was pregnant. Jane says that her child is now 10 years old and in good health.

Sheila took an emergency contraceptive pill famously known as P2, within the recommended time, that is 72 hours, and still got pregnant.After discovering she was pregnant, she was scared that her baby would have health problems, but that was not the case, “Nilikua naogopa watoto wangu atakua na kasoro but ako healthy ata ni mwerevu shuleni (I was worried she would have complications, but she is fine and is smart),” she said.

An obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Jean Gagia said some women get pregnant even when using family planning because there is no contraceptive that is 100% effective. She further explains even vasectomy is not 100% effective.

Dr. Jean encourages people to use family planning, adding it is better to use it than not.She advises people to be tested before using family planning. She says people with high blood pressure cannot take pills because they can contribute to the rise in pressure.

Another gynecologist, Dr. Nassir Shaban, says there are three categories of contraceptives, short term, long term and emergency contraceptives which can be either hormonal or non-hormonal contraceptives.

According to Dr. Nassir short term contraceptives need to be taken regularly or renewed after three months. Long term contraceptives are the ones that stay for three to 10 years before being renewed.

Finally, he says emergency contraceptives are just that – for emergencies – after having sex, for example P2.Dr. Nassir says contraceptives have both negative and positive side effects and they differ from one person to another.

He further states that hormonal contraceptives have more side effects than non-hormonal contraceptives. Giving examples, he says someone using combined oral pills is at a higher risk of getting breast cancer and developing deep vein thrombosis.

Finally, he says contraceptives with more progestin help in regulating periods and prevention of hyperplasia.

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