Contraceptive use reduces the likelihood of mortalities and morbidities associated with unsafe abortions and unwanted pregnancies in sub-Saharan Africa. Given that healthcare professionals in Ghana are a primary source of reproductive health services including contraceptives, this study examined contraceptive use, factors influencing contraceptive use and satisfaction among midwifery students in Ghana. A cross-sectional survey, conducted between September 2013 and May 2014 asked about current and previous contraceptive use, perceived accessibility, and barriers to use. The survey questions were administered electronically, using Sawtooth Software SSI Web CAPI, in the midwifery training collegesâ€™ computer laboratories. We exported data to Microsoft Excel and cleaned for analysis using STATA version 14.0. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate frequencies and percentages for categorical variables, and logistic regression was performed to identify predictors of contraceptive use. All final year midwifery students were asked to participate. Of the 948 eligible students, 853 agree to participate, completed informed consent, and provided complete data. The prevalence of contraceptive use among the midwifery students is 39.5%. Current contraceptive users were very satisfied with their methods. Participants not currently using a contraceptive method cited reasons like afraid of side effects and embarrassed to access methods. Approximately 19.9% had experienced an unwanted pregnancy, while 41.0% had experienced a pregnancy scare.
Pregnancy scare, marital status, and friendâ€™s use of contraceptives were factors that strongly influenced contraceptive use among midwifery students. In conclusion, midwifery students had significant fears and barriers to the use of contraceptives, and a substantial number have had an unwanted pregnancy.
Keywords: Contraceptives, midwifery, pregnancy scare, abortion