What Leads to Unplanned Pregnancy


Going by a recent report in the Social Science & Medicine journal published by the Guttmacher Institute, unexpected pregnancies are still – and will be for time to come – very much in the picture. The reason for it is amazingly simple: many women rely on wishful thinking and false hopes!


The research was founded on deep analyses of interviews conducted with 49 American women who applied for abortions. Most of them believed their risk of getting pregnant was negligible. They built their assurance on a notion that it just can’t happen to them. Some of them thought they were barren, and a few of the women polled relied on contraceptive measures (although it turned out they failed to use them like they should have to).

Whence comes this ungrounded assumption that a woman will conceive only when she wants to? A probable explanation is put forward by Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, obstetrics and gynecology professor at Yale University School of Medicine: there is so much talk around of women who have problems getting pregnant. Once you’ve heard a number of such stories you can lull yourself into believing that conception is something highly problematic.

Whereas the reality is different: about half of all cases of pregnancy registered every year in the U.S. are unplanned. If you have an active sex life, Minkin points out, and neglect protecting yourself properly, you’re heading for getting pregnant.

Statistics show that over 80% of couples who go for regular and unprotected action get themselves a baby in the oven within 12 months. The research surprisingly revealed that a third of the polled women assumed they were barren – or their partners were sterile.

As for birth control: while it really decreases the pregnancy risk, it is no sure-proof guarantee. To begin with, the women in the study admitted they had been using contraceptives incorrectly or intermittently. Minkin says that for many women it was common to omit taking about four birth control pills monthly, thereby lowering the effectiveness by degrees.

It all leads to the following: you mustn’t assume that it’s not easy for you to conceive unless you have been definitely told so by doctors. If you are not ready for a baby yet, use contraceptives (condoms, pills, the IUD) – and make sure you are using them properly.