BELGRADE – About 60,000 abortions are performed in Serbia annually, and according to unofficial information, the number is between 150,000 to 200,000 abortions.
Every year in Serbia are registered 16,000 adolescent pregnancies, and more than 90 percent of them are unplanned and end in abortion. Almost 15 percent of women in Serbia had at least one abortion, and nearly a third that undergo at least one abortion does not have children later, writes Serbian daily “Blic”.
Alarming information on the number of abortions, unwanted pregnancies and the lack of use of contraception show that young people in Serbia are not familiar enough with the health consequences and complications which can be caused by unwanted pregnancy and abortion.
Thirty-five percent of women opts for “interrupted intercourse” and the second most popular is the male condom, which is, as a method of protection, present in 12 percent of women. However, modern methods of contraception in Serbia are used by only 18 percent of women according to a research conducted jointly by UNICEF and the Republic Statistical Office.
Although there are numerous accessible modern methods of contraception, the use of regular contraception in Serbia is at the lowest level, which results in a high rate of unplanned pregnancies and abortions. For these reasons, it is necessary to educate young people and break prejudices when it comes to the use of modern contraception and also present emergency contraception as a possibility to avoid unplanned pregnancy.
In order to reduce the number of abortions and health complicatoins which abortion as an intervention can cause, scientists invented a pill for “emergency post-coital contraception”, which is taken in the case of unprotected sexual intercourse, or if any of the applied methods of contraception fails. It is generally referred to as “Morning-After Pill”.
Most often, the method of urgent contraception means a pill that contains Levonorgestrel which is effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy if applied within 72 hours (3 days) since the unprotected sexual intercourse, with its efficiency decreasing with time, so it is better to take it as soon as possible.
The use of pills for urgent contraception is often subject of polemics in public. However, gynecologists claim that emergency contraception is highly effective and safe, and as such does not cause health complications. It is believed that it is certainly better to take the “morning after pill” then later having unwanted pregnancy, abortion and potential health complications.
Regarding the frequency of the use, gynecologists recommend that the pill for emergency contraception should not be used as a regular method of contraception, but as a supplement in emergency and unplanned situations.
According to the latest published WHO guidelines on the use of contraceptives, it is stated that there is no situation in which the risk exceeds the benefit from the use of emergency contraception, and that it should be used whenever there is a real need for it, because frequent use does not imply the occurrence of serious side effects.
There are also various dilemmas in users regarding the use of these pills, as well as “urban legends”, for which can be credited incomplete or inaccurate information from various sources. Some of them include belief that if there is bleeding 5 days after taking the pill it means that it worked, and if not – it did not work. Also, statements such as those that this is a “hormonal bomb” significantly contribute in negative sense to spreading of misconception because the pill for emergency contraception contains only Levonorgestre which usually represents the “golden standard” for safety in the field of contraception in general.