Health Provider’s Role in Unintended Pregnancies

A new study investigates whether health care providers could trigger unintended pregnancies that end in abortion.

Unhelpful information about the use of birth control methods given by health care providers to patients could contribute to unintended pregnancies, according to new research. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine analyzed information gathered from 357 women who requested abortions.

Of the women, 18 percent had correctly used birth control, but were unaware of the chance of pregnancy with their method. Another 21 percent experienced an incident that increased their risk for pregnancy, even though they correctly used contraception. Thirty-one percent of the participants had improperly used birth control, while 27 percent of the women had used no method of birth control. Only 4 percent of the women had originally intended to carry their pregnancies to full term.

Only 27 percent of the women knew about emergency contraception. Of those who didn’t know about it, two-thirds would have benefited from the use of emergency contraception. Researchers conclude that health care providers present inadequate information to patients on birth control, inevitably contributing to a number of pregnancies ending in abortion.

SOURCE: Association of Reproductive Health Professionals’ 39th annual meeting, Reproductive Health 2002, Sept. 11-14, 2002 in Denver

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