Objectives: This book examined the decision making process and health seeking patterns of low-income young women with unplanned pregnancies who opted for abortion, putting baby up for adoption, or keeping the baby.
Methods: Research methodology in this book focused on formative research utilizing qualitative data. The study was conducted covering all five shelters and low-income communities in Bangkok, Thailand. The data collection was through Focus Group Discussions, and in-depth interview. Forty-five cases were purposively recruited into the study. The data were analyzed using content analysis.
Results: From the qualitative research, the results indicated that the majority of the young women tended to select abortion as their first choice, while a few cases continued their pregnancies to term without any attempt to terminate the pregnancy. These women tended to delay seeking assistance once they found out their pregnancy situation. Majority of the low-income young women were more likely to resort self-medication as their first alternative, which was sometimes hazardous to their health. Decision on self-medication or abortions with unskilled personnel sometimes resulted in serious and life-threatening complications. Many pregnancy-termination situations resulted from self-medication. While most of these women made the important decision themselves, they still sought advice, guidance, and support from their partners, peers and parents. When the first attempt failed, they would seek a second or third attempt until they felt it was not possible to achieve what they had planned.
Most women with unplanned pregnancies knew that they had options regarding termination of their pregnancies but their main concern was confidentiality. Consequently, the women who wanted to terminate their pregnancies adopted three patterns of action, i.e., 1) visiting drugstores / grocery stores, 2) visiting private clinics or hospitals, and 3) using physical pressure or vigorous actions. Most of the women realized that private clinics provided effective methods for terminating pregnancy, but due to its high cost, they would first resort self-medication or self-management. If they were not successful, they would then visit a private clinic and asked others to support the cost.
Understanding the women’s decisions making process and their health seeking patterns utilization allows us to understand their decision and course of actions. The program managers, implementers, providers, partners, parents/relatives, and friends should do as much as possible to support the decision of the women in order to provide better information and services to reduce the impact, both physical and mental, of their selected choice.