Pregnant women
A majority number of abortion cases in India have been reported among urban women aged under 20, the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) said. In Picture: Gynaecologist Nayana Patel carries out an ultrasound examination on Renuka, 23, a surrogate mother, at the Akanksha IVF centre in Anand town, about 70 km (44 miles) south of the western Indian city of Ahmedabad.Reuters

A majority of the abortions in India are reported among urban women below the age of 20 years, a survey done by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) revealed. While only 2 percent of total pregnancies reported in rural India culminated in abortions, the figure for urban India stood at 3 percent.

The highest percentage (14 percent) of total abortions was reported in the youngest age group (below the age of 20 years) in urban India, the NSSO survey said. Among all pregnancies reported, 77 percent in rural and 74 percent in urban areas ended with a live birth. The survey pointed out that the higher incidence of abortions among young urban women in India may be due to various factors such as better access to abortion services.

Nearly 20,000 pregnant women in the age group of 15-49 years from all over the country were included in the NSSO survey. The report said 21 percent of pregnancies reported among women below the age of 20 years were wasted.

Wastage of pregnancies is defined as the total number of pregnancies, which did not result in live births during the reference period per 1,000 number of completed pregnancies during same period.

About 4 per cent of pregnancies were wasted in rural areas, and the percentage was a little higher in the urban areas (6 per cent), as per the survey.

It said that the failed or wasted pregnancies were seen to occur mostly among older women. The pregnancy wastage rate increases with age from the age group of 20-25 years to that of 30-35 years.

The survey said both the abortion and pregnancy wastage cases in India are under reported.

In rural areas, 20 percent of the total child births were reported at homes instead of hospitals. In urban areas, 11 percent of childbirths took place at home. The survey said home birth is usually prevalent among poor families and as the income level of families rises, the practice of giving birth in hospitals increases.

Incidence of childbirths at home was high in the states of Chhattisgarh (44 percent), Bihar (30 percent), Uttar Pradesh (29 percent) and Jharkhand (26 percent).