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The University of Southampton
Social Statistics and DemographyPart of Economic, Social & Political Science

Sexual and Reproductive Health

Our work also investigates sexual and reproductive health topics, such as induced abortion, contraceptive use and pregnancy intentions. Heini Väisänen, in collaboration with colleagues from University of Southampton, the Guttmacher Institute and Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, is conducting a study entitled ‘Medication abortion in restrictive settings – characteristics and health literacy of women obtaining misoprostol’ in Nigeria.

Increase in the availability of medication abortion using misoprostol has reduced mortality and morbidity risks of unsafe abortion in countries, where abortion is illegal, but little is known about how women use misoprostol in these settings and who these women are. While misoprostol reduces the health risks of clandestine abortion, some women may experience complications due to e.g. not knowing how to use the drug correctly.

The study examines whether the advice women received and their understanding of it is associated with the risk of complications due to medication abortion. In collaboration with colleagues from National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland and the Family Federation of Finland, Dr Väisänen has been examining the determinants of induced abortion and contraceptive use among migrant women in Finland. Despite the growing research interest in the health of migrant populations in Europe, sexual and reproductive health of these groups is often neglected in social research perhaps due to lack of suitable datasets and the delicate nature of the topic.

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