Page 2: CDC: Nearly 40 Percent of US Births Are Unintended
“”These are staggering statistics,” said Sheryl Kingsberg, a professor of reproductive biology and psychiatry at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, who was not involved in the study. “Here we are with various means of effective birth control at our fingertips, but it’s not reaching the population that needs it the most.”
Previous studies have found that about half of unintended births come from ineffective use of contraception — not wearing a condom or inappropriately taking birth control pills, for example. Others simply don’t use contraception at all.
Some doctors say a lack of education about and access to contraception through the health care system are the prohibiting factors driving those behaviors for many women, especially teens and women with lower incomes and education.
In the current study, more than one-third of women who had unintended births reported that they didn’t think they could get pregnant.”
Doctors say whether a baby is planned or not has important consequences for the health of the mother and the child. Mothers who have unplanned pregnancies are more likely to get little to no prenatal care, smoke cigarettes during their pregnancy and to decline to breastfeed, a practice known to have health benefits for mother and baby. Unintended babies also tend to have lower birth weight.
The costs to the nation’s health care system are also tremendous. Two recent studies both estimated that the cost of prenatal care, delivery and care of unintended babies in the first year of life comes to about $11 billion each year.