Clinical Edge

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Sexual Orientation & Unintended Pregnancy Risk

Women’s Health Issues; ePub 2016 Dec 28; Hartnett, et al

Pregnancies to sexual minority women (SMW) are more likely to be unintended compared to heterosexual women, a recent study found, and clinicians should consider these added risks when screening patients for contraceptive counseling. Data on pregnancies to 25,403 women aged 18 to 44 years were drawn from the 2006 through 2013 National Survey of Family Growth. Researchers found:

  • Pregnancies to SMW were more likely to be unintended compared with pregnancies to heterosexual women (aOR, 1.26).
  • Specifically, this was driven by elevated risk experienced by heterosexual-identified women with same-sex attractions (aOR, 1.28).
  • A greater number of male sex partners among these women contributed to greater unintended pregnancy risk compared with heterosexual women.


Hartnett CS, Lindley LL, Walsemann KM. Congruence across sexual orientation dimensions and risk for unintended pregnancy among adult U.S. women. [Published online ahead of print December 28, 2016]. Women’s Health Issues. doi:10.1016/j.whi.2016.10.010.