Brazilian women avoiding pregnancy during Zika epidemic

Letter to the Editor, by Debora Diniz, Marcelo Medeiros, Alberto MadeiroJ Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 2017;43:80 DOI: 10.1136/jfprhc-2016-101678Brazil now has confirmed 1,845 cases of congenital Zika syndrome in babies (TORCHZ) in a group of 9,091 suspected cases… To understand if and how the epidemic has impacted reproductive health practices, we conducted a national survey in June 2016… [and] collected data from a nationally representative sample of 2,002 urban Brazilian women between the ages of 18–39 years and literate, thereby corresponding to 83% of the total female population… A large proportion (56%) of women reported that they had avoided (or tried to avoid) pregnancy because of the Zika epidemic. In contrast, 27% of women reported that they had not tried to avoid pregnancy because of the Zika epidemic and 16% reported that they had not been planning to get pregnant, regardless of the Zika epidemic. A higher proportion of Northeastern women (66%) than Southern women (46%) reported trying to avoid pregnancy – which likely reflects the fact that epidemic has been more concentrated in Northeastern Brazil. There were no significant differences among the main religious groups… Black (64%) and Brown (56%) women were more likely to report avoiding pregnancy than White women (51%), which also likely reflects the disproportionate impact of the epidemic among the most vulnerable racial groups. In our opinion, Brazil must urgently re-evaluate its reproductive health policies to ensure better access to contraception information and methods…[and] review its continued criminalisation of abortion.INFOGRAPHIC, by WHO