Reasons for Unprotected Intercourse: Analysis of the PRAMS Survey

Contraception. 2007 May;75(5):361-6. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2007.01.011. Epub 2007 Mar 12.


Objectives: This study was conducted to identify reasons why women had unprotected intercourse that led to an unintended pregnancy.

Methods: As part of the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) survey, women with a recent unintended viable pregnancy were asked after the birth why they had not used birth control.

Results: Of 7856 respondents, 33% felt they could not get pregnant at the time of conception, 30% did not really mind if they got pregnant, 22% stated their partner did not want to use contraception, 16% cited side effects, 10% felt they or their partner were sterile, 10% cited access problems and 18% selected "other." Latent class analysis showed seven patterns of response, each identifying strongly with a single reason.

Conclusions: Almost half of women with viable unintended pregnancies ending in a birth felt they could not/would not get pregnant at the time of conception. Most women identified with a single reason for having unprotected intercourse.

MeSH terms

  • Coitus / psychology*
  • Contraception Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned*