A better than 50-50 proposition: More U.S. pregnancies are unplanned

Planned or unplanned?: A study shows that more than half of the pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Why is that? This NPR report tries to find some answers.
Planned or unplanned?: A study shows that more than half of the pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Why is that? This NPR report tries to find some answers.Courtesy Petercantfail
National Public Radio has a pretty interesting story on the statistical odds of getting pregnant in the U.S., and the birth-control reasoning that goes into – at least what I consider – the high rate of unplanned pregnancies.

More than half of all U.S. pregnancies are unplanned. In an age with some many forms of birth control, lots of education opportunities to learn how to avoid pregnancy and a greater openness to talk about sexual activities than in the past, how can this happen?

Click here to get the full report, plus a thorough round-up of the variety of contraception methods that are currently available. While the cliché answer is that pregnancy avoidance is a shared responsibility – and I agree it should be – experts quoted in the story come to the conclusion that females who are sexually active and don’t want to become pregnant need to have a plan in place in advance to reduce their pregnancy chances.

Among the contributing factors to unplanned pregnancies are incorrect or inconsistent use of contraceptives, lack of access to health care and the one theory that really caught my attention: “Magical Thinking.”

Giving the example of one woman, magical thinking was explained as having sex at a time determine through a process of elimination on time when a woman figures she is not fertile. It’s sort of the reverse process of timing sexual activity at the optimum time of ovulation in order to get pregnant.

"You either say, 'I'm not planning to get pregnant, and therefore I'm going to be very careful,' or, 'I am planning to get pregnant,' " says Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "If you are the middle, in a fog and magically thinking, you're planning to get pregnant."

What do you think of all of this? Do you react like me to think that the number of unplanned pregnancies is especially high? How can we shift mind-sets of people to be more proactive practicing contraception if they don’t want to encounter a pregnancy? Is this making to big of a deal out of a natural process of life? Share your thoughts here with other Science Buzz readers.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Brittany_Todd's picture
Brittany_Todd says:

I really think some women are just doing it to get attention.

I remember the year after I graduated high school, I went back to talk to my teachers and one of them had explained to me that 5-7th Graders, 6-8th Graders, and 4-9th Graders had become pregnant that year...

I think it's sad...

If you don't want to get pregnant, then watch what you're doing! Especially in 7th and 8th grade!? You have your whole life ahead of you!


posted on Wed, 04/22/2009 - 7:07pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I totally agree. Girls dont know what they are dealing with in the age of 14.

posted on Thu, 12/16/2010 - 6:52am

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