More than 50% of women in Brazil are avoiding pregnancy due to the Zika epidemic. The recent study was published online in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.
Since the outbreak of Zika in Brazil, there have been 1,845 confirmed cases of congenital Zika syndrome in babies.
A team of doctors from the University of Brasília, wanted to know how the epidemic has impacted reproductive health practices.
A national survey conducted in June 2016 of 2,002 urban and literate Brazilian women aged 18–3 in a face-to-face questionnaires to collect data about reproductive health and pregnancy.
The selection of the 2,002 women corresponded to 83% of the total female population.
The report has found that over half (56%) the women reported that they had avoided, or tried to avoid pregnancy because of the Zika epidemic.
Conversely, 27% of women reported that they had not tried to avoid pregnancy because of the epidemic and 16% had not been planning to get pregnant, regardless of the epidemic.
When it came down to the demographics Black (64%) and brown (56%) women were more likely to report avoiding pregnancy than white women (51%), most probably reflecting the disproportionate impact of the epidemic on vulnerable racial groups, they add.
However, there was no significant differences among the main religious groups.
“The results provide an important first glimpse into how the Zika epidemic has shaped pregnancy intentions among women in Brazil,” explains Professor Debora Dinizs.
“Brazil must urgently re-evaluate its reproductive health policies to ensure better access to contraception information and methods”
This includes making available a wider range of contraceptive methods, including long-acting reversible contraception, which are either scarce, such as the copper intrauterine device, or not available, such as hormonal implants, through public health services.