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

Sexual activity and sexual health among young adults with/without intellectual disability

BMC Public Health 201818:667

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5572-9

Abstract

Background

There is widespread concern about the sexual ‘vulnerability’ of young people with intellectual disabilities, but little evidence relating to sexual activity and sexual health.

Method

This paper describes a secondary analysis of the nationally representative longitudinal Next Steps study (formerly the Longitudinal Survey of Young People in England), investigating sexual activity and sexual health amongst young people with mild/moderate intellectual disabilities. This analysis investigated family socio-economic position, young person socio-economic position, household composition, area deprivation, peer victimisation, friendships, sexual activity, unsafe sex, STIs, pregnancy outcomes and parenting.

Results

Most young people with mild/moderate intellectual disabilities have had sexual intercourse by age 19/20, although young women were less likely to have sex prior to 16 than their peers and both men and women with intellectual disabilities were more likely to have unsafe sex 50% or more of the time than their peers. Women with intellectual disabilities were likely to have been pregnant and more likely to be a mother.

Conclusion

Most young people with mild/moderate intellectual disabilities have sex and are more likely to have unsafe sex than their peers. Education and health services need to operate on the assumption that most young people with mild/moderate intellectual disabilities will have sex.

Unplanned pregnancy resources for patients & health professionals

Women’s Health Victoria Clearinghouse Connector,  June 2017

This Clearinghouse Connector focuses on the experience of unplanned pregnancy in Australia and the resources available for women and health professionals to help navigate the decision making process.

Although there is surprisingly little information available about the prevalence of unintended pregnancy in Australia, it has been estimated that half of all pregnancies per year in Australia are unplanned. Outcomes for unplanned pregnancies include parenting, miscarriage, abortion and adoption, with parenting being the most likely outcome and adoption the least likely.

Factors influencing women’s decisions about whether or not to continue a pregnancy include the level of support they are likely to receive, the financial resources they have access to, and their own emotional readiness to become parents. Regardless of whether a woman decides to continue or terminate her pregnancy she will need access to appropriate, sensitive and non-judgmental supports and services.