Clinical Edge

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Unintended Pregnancy in the US

N Engl J Med; 2016 Mar 3; Finer, Zolna

The rate of unintended pregnancy in the US declined substantially between 2008 and 2011 following a previous period of minimal change, but unintended pregnancies remained most common among women and girls who were poor and those who were cohabitating. This according to a study that calculated rates of pregnancy for the years 2008 to 2011 according to women’s and girls’ pregnancy intentions and the outcomes of those pregnancies. The analysis concluded:

• 45% of pregnancies were unintended in 2011, compared with 51% in 2008.

• The rate of unintended pregnancy among women and girls aged 15 to 44 years declined by 18% from 2008 to 2011.

• Rates of unintended pregnancy among those who were below the federal poverty level or cohabitating were 2 to 3 times the national average.

• In population subgroups, the incidence of unintended pregnancy declined by >25% among girls aged 15 to 17 years.

• The percentage of unintended pregnancies that ended in abortion remained stable during the study period.

Citation: Finer LB, Zolna MR. Declines in unintended pregnancy in the United States, 2008-2011. N Engl J Med 2016;374:843-52. doi:10.1056/NEJMsa1506575.