Almost one-third of unplanned pregnancies end in abortion

Med J Aust , Published online: 7 October 2018

ONE in four women who responded to a national telephone survey reported falling pregnant in the past 10 years without planning to do so, and 30.4% of those pregnancies ended in abortion, according to the authors of a research letter published online today by the Medical Journal of Australia.

Ten years after the only other national household survey on the subject of mistimed or unplanned pregnancy, researchers led by Professor Angela Taft, a principal research fellow at the Judith Lumley Centre at La Trobe University, undertook a national random computer-assisted telephone (mobile and landline) survey (weekdays, 9 am–8 pm) during December 2014 – May 2015. Women aged 18–45 years with adequate English were asked whether they had had an unintended pregnancy during the past 10 years, and whether any unintended pregnancy was unwanted.

Despite the availability of effective contraception in Australia, we found that, as in the United States, about half of the unintended pregnancies were in women not using contraception. Research is required to explore the reasons for not doing so, and to determine where education would be most helpful

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