Introduction. Voluntary interruption of pregnancy (VIP) is one of the most frequent healthcare procedures in the world and a Public Health concern in many countries, especially after liberalization of the abortion laws. The study has been carried out to identify the factors that still influence a fraction of female population towards abortion in the absence of fetal malformations.
Methods. We conducted a cross-sectional study in the period 2012-2016. The survey was carried out on all VIPs performed at the Gynecology and Obstetrics Unit of the University Hospital "G. Martino" in Messina, Italy.
Results. The analyzed sample consisted of 1131 women, aged between 16 and 50 years. Only 4% of VIPs was due to a diagnosis of fetal malformation. In relation to the presence or absence of fetal malformations as the possible reason for VIP, the sample was split up into two groups and the socio-demographic characteristics were considered. VIPs in the absence of malformations were significantly more frequent in younger women with a lower educational level, in unmarried and unemployed women and in women who already had children. Multivariate analysis, including as covariates education level, marital status, profession, number of children, number of previous abortions and nationality, indicated that the variables mainly related to using VIP in the absence of malformations were marital status, age and number of sons.
Conclusions. Based on our results, it is crucial to further prevent requests for VIPs through information and sex education programs for adolescents in schools and consultants, and responsible procreation promotion programs.
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