Why Is This Important?In the United States, unintended pregnancy is a major public health problem. Unintended pregnancy is a general term that includes pregnancies that a woman reports were either mistimed or unwanted at the time of conception. Women with unintended pregnancies are less likely to seek early prenatal care or receive adequate prenatal care, they are more likely to smoke or drink during pregnancy, and are less likely to initiate or maintain breastfeeding.
Women Who Reported Their Most Recent Pregnancy Was Unintended by Year, Utah, 1999-2013
Data SourceUtah Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), Utah Department of Health
Data NotesQuestion: "Thinking back to just before you got pregnant, how did you feel about becoming pregnant?" (check one answer).
Answer Options: I wanted to be pregnant sooner, I wanted to be pregnant later, I wanted to be pregnant then, I didn't want to be pregnant then or at any time in the future, or I wasn't sure what I wanted.
Women who wanted to be pregnant later or didn't want to be pregnant were categorized as having an unintended pregnancy. [[br]]
[[br]]Beginning in 2012, the PRAMS survey added the response "I wasn't sure what I wanted". The addition of this response likely diluted the percentage of responses in the other categories so 2012 data not comparable to previous years.
Risk FactorsHaving an unintended pregnancy can contribute to short inter-pregnancy spacing (span between the birth of one child and the conception of another), which increases the risk of infant morbidity and mortality. In addition, unintended pregnancy can contribute to an increase in the rate of abortions as well as late entry into prenatal care. Women with inadequate care due to late entry are more likely to deliver a low birth weight baby.
How Are We Doing?During the years 2012 and 2013, 23.8% of women reported that their birth resulted from an unintended pregnancy. Of the women who reported their pregnancies as unintended, 62.7% said they were using some method to avoid pregnancy at the time of conception. Contraceptive failure rates vary between methods used but are very low when used correctly. This high rate of contraceptive failure signals the need to increase education, services, and coverage of methods of long-acting reversible contraception that may be less prone to human error.
What Is Being Done?In order to reduce unplanned pregnancies, public health efforts may include:
__Health Education__ - increase knowledge of human reproduction, conception, and proper use of available contraceptive methods; and promote optimal spacing of pregnancies for healthy outcomes.
__Reproductive Health Services__ - increase dialogue between health care providers and women regarding reproductive health and family planning options.
__Access to Health Care__ - improve insurance coverage for family planning services.
As of August 1, 2012, non-grandfathered plans and issuers are required to provide coverage for preventive women's health care including contraception and counseling without cost sharing.
Date Indicator Content Last Updated: 09/05/2016