Unintended pregnancy and contraception among active-duty servicewomen and veterans

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Jun;206(6):463-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2011.11.018. Epub 2011 Dec 1.


The number of women of childbearing age who are active-duty service members or veterans of the US military is increasing. These women may seek reproductive health care at medical facilities operated by the military, in the civilian sector, or through the Department of Veterans Affairs. This article reviews the current data on unintended pregnancy and prevalence of and barriers to contraceptive use among active-duty and veteran women. Active-duty servicewomen have high rates of unintended pregnancy and low contraceptive use, which may be due to official prohibition of sexual activity in the military, logistic difficulties faced by deployed women, and limited patient and provider knowledge of available contraceptives. In comparison, little is known about rates of unintended pregnancy and contraceptive use among women veterans. Based on this review, research recommendations to address these issues are provided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Contraception / economics
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned*
  • United States
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Veterans Health / statistics & numerical data