An increasing number of older women are having abortions, and most are working mothers who choose to focus on their career, current children and financial stability than have another baby, a study has found.
Researchers in Melbourne have found the majority of women were not using contraception or were relying on less-effective methods such as natural family planning when they became unexpectedly pregnant.
There had been a 29 per cent increase in women aged 30 to 50 terminating a pregnancy between 1996 and 2006, but the reasons why these women did so had not yet been studied. The researchers analysed 50 women who had attended a private women’s clinic in metropolitan Melbourne in 2007.
They found 80 per cent had a regular partner and at least one child. The most common reasons for termination were financial pressures, a focus on career or studies, already having dependent children or being emotionally unprepared for children. One-third cited one of these as their main reason for having an abortion.
Women who had never given birth were more likely to cite relationship factors and money worries, the study, published in The Medical Journal of Australia today, reported.
The majority of women were not using contraception or were relying on less-effective methods such as natural family planning.
Wendy Lee and Danielle Mazza, from the Department of General Practice at Monash University, also found the burden of caring for frail or ageing parents, or the prospect of having to do so, was a factor in the decision made by many women.
It was concerning that older women were either underestimating their fertility and pregnancy risk or failing to choose more effective methods of contraception, such as inter uterine devices, the researchers wrote.
Jill Michelson, national clinical adviser at Marie Stopes International, said the study showed more needed to be done to educate women on the importance of correct contraceptive use.
Discuss contraception with Essential Baby members.