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About Family Planning / Contraception

  1. An estimated 225 million women in developing countries would like to delay or stop childbearing but are not using any method of contraception.

  2. An estimated 65% of sexually active South African women between the ages of 15-49 use a modern contraceptive method services (Modern methods of contraception include female and male sterilization, oral hormonal pills, the intra-uterine device (IUD), the male condom, injectables, the implant (including Norplant), vaginal barrier methods, the female condom and emergency contraception) .

  3. Close to 14% of South African women of reproductive age have an unmet need for modern contraception services.

  4. 83% of women in South Africa get their contraceptive services from the public sector services.

  5. By preventing unintended pregnancy, family planning/contraception prevents deaths of mothers and children.

  6. Family planning/contraception reduces the need for abortion, particularly unsafe abortion.

About unintended pregnancies

  1. An unintended pregnancy is defined as a pregnancy that is either unwanted (i.e. the pregnancy occurred when no children, or no more children, were desired) or mistimed (i.e. the pregnancy occurred earlier than desired).

  2. Approximately 40% of all pregnancies are unintended.

  3. More than 2 million unintended pregnancies are averted each year in South Africa due to use of modern methods of contraception.

  4. An estimated 24.1% of pregnancies in South Africa are reported to be mistimed, while 23.2 are reported to be unwanted.

  5. Unintended pregnancy is associated with higher risks of problems for mothers and babies.


    1. World Health Organization. Family planning/Contraception fact sheet, 2015.
    1. Department of Health. National Contraception and Fertility Planning Policy and Service Delivery Guidelines 15-20, 2012.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unintended Pregnancy Prevention, 2016.

  2. Sedgh G, Singh S, Hussain, R. Intended and Unintended Pregnancies Worldwide in 2012 and Recent Trends. Studies in Family Planning vol. 45, Issue 3. 301–314, 2014.

  3. Family Planning 2020. South Africa FP2020 Core Indicator Summary Sheet: 2016.

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