An unintended pregnancy is any pregnancy that is unplanned or mistimed. Worldwide, approximately 80 million pregnancies are unplanned, and the majority of those (1 in 3) are among females under the age of 20. Each year, unintended pregnancy results in 42 million abortions worldwide, and another 34 million unintended births. People experiencing an unintended pregnancy are likely to face serious emotional, academic, relationship, health, financial, and social challenges, and babies born to teenage parents are much more likely to face health challenges. Anyone coping with unintended pregnancy may also be at risk for HIV and other STD infections because precautions were not used.
Reasons for unintended pregnancies are varied. In the United States, it is estimated that 52% of all unintended pregnancies are the result of the couple not using appropriate forms of contraception, while 43% are the result of using contraception incorrectly or inconsistently. Only 5% are the result of contraceptive failure. Teen pregnancy is sometimes linked with being a victim of physical violence, being forced to have sex against one’s will, dating violence, and being in an an emotionally abusive relationship. Many girls lose their virginity while drinking or under the influence of drugs, and often times don't use protection; contrary to popular belief, a female can become pregnant her first time. Most sexually experienced teenage males have used condoms, but not all the time. Less than half of teen males said they used condoms 100% of the times they had sexual intercourse during the last year.
The single best method for preventing an unintended pregnancy is to remain abstinent. Any person - male or female - who chooses to engage in sexual activity should be educated, make an informed decision with his or her partner, and use birth control consistently and correctly. No one birth control product is best for everyone, so sexually active individuals should talk with their doctor, nurse or pharmacist, or visit a Family Planning or Public Health office. Birth control pills, contraceptive sponges, diaphragms and spermicides all have varying degrees of effectiveness, but condoms, when used consistently and correctly, have the added benefit of helping to prevent the spread of HIV and other STDs. Emergency contraception (known as Plan B) can be used within five days of unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.
Symptoms: Unintended Pregnancy ˆ Back To Top
Every woman's body is different, so recognizing the early symptoms of pregnancy can be difficult. A missed period is the earliest and most reliable sign, but not all women are regular, and some women experience light spotting even if they are pregnant. Feeling unusually tired or nauseous can also be indications, as can sudden cravings or aversions to specific foods. Some women find themselves needing to urinate more frequently, and others notice increased sensitivity or swelling of the breasts. The hormones that cause this can also result in rapid mood swings.
Treatment: Unintended Pregnancy ˆ Back To Top
The single best treatment for unintended pregnancy is to prevent it; even taking precautions does not guarantee against conception. Still, it is possible to be sexually active and guard against unintended pregnancy. First and foremost, this means making an informed decision: you are in charge of your body, and only you can decide when you are ready. If you are in a relationship in which you are being pressured, controlled, or forced to do things you do not want to do, or are being physically, sexually, or emotionally mistreated, seek help and do not engage in intercourse. It may help to make a plan for yourself about engaging in sexual activity and other risk behaviors and stick to it, so when you are faced with pressure, you know where you stand. Being drunk or high makes it hard to make decisions, so avoid situations where that behavior is likely.