Unplanned pregnancy: does past experience influence the use of a contraceptive method?

Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Jan;107(1):121-7. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000192170.16746.ea.


Objective: To investigate whether women between the ages of 14 and 25 years with a past unplanned pregnancy were more likely to use a contraceptive method compared with women without a history of unplanned pregnancy.

Methods: We analyzed baseline data of 424 nonpregnant women between the ages of 14 and 25 years enrolled in a randomized trial to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy (Project PROTECT). Women at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancy were included. Participants completed a demographic, substance use, and reproductive health questionnaire. We compared women with and without a history of unplanned pregnancy using bivariate analysis and log binomial regression.

Results: The prevalence of past unplanned pregnancy in this sample was 43%. Women reporting an unplanned pregnancy were older, and had less education, and were more likely to be nonwhite race or ethnicity. History of an unplanned pregnancy was not associated with usage of a contraceptive method (relative risk 1.01, 95% confidence interval 0.87-1.16) in bivariate analysis or when potential confounders were accounted for in the analysis (adjusted relative risk 1.10, 95% confidence interval 0.95-1.28).

Conclusion: Several factors were associated with both unplanned pregnancy and overall contraceptive method use in this population. However, a past unplanned pregnancy was not associated with overall contraceptive method usage. Future studies are necessary to investigate the complex relationship between unplanned pregnancy and contraceptive method use.

Level of evidence: II-2.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Contraception / standards*
  • Contraception / trends
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate / ethnology
  • Pregnancy Rate / trends*
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned*
  • Prevalence
  • Probability
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Socioeconomic Factors