University Study Suggests Unintended Pregnancies May Be Reduced by Targeted Interventions

Maryland_SealNationwide, 51 percent of all pregnancies are unintended. A new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health has documented characteristics of women who are likely to have unintended pregnancies, allowing social workers and public health officials to tailor programs to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies among particular populations. Women who are single, have lower levels, or education, and are younger tend to have the highest percentage of unintended pregnancies, according to the study.

When the figures are broken down by race, the numbers show that 63 percent of the pregnancies of African American women are unintended compared to 42 percent of the pregnancies of White women.

The authors conclude that their “analysis showed that age, education, U.S. nativity status, relationship and marital status, poverty, and health insurance status contributed to racial and ethnic disparities in unintended pregnancy. Thus, interventions could target at-risk groups of women such as younger, unmarried, lower-income, less-educated, non-U.S. women, and uninsured or publicly insured women.”

dagherRada Dagher, an assistant professor of health services administration at the University of Maryland and a co-author of the study, says that “preventing unintended pregnancies should be a public health priority in the United States. Our study shows there are modifiable factors that can be targeted by policymakers to reduce these disparities.”

Dr. Dagher holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental health and a master of public health degree from the American University in Beirut. She earned a Ph.D. in health services research from the University of Minnesota.

The study, “Racial/Ethnic Differences in Unintended Pregnancy: Evidence From a National Sample of U.S. Women,” has been published on the website of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. It may be accessed here.

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