Reducing unintended pregnancy in women at risk

The United States has one of the highest rates of unintended pregnancy among the world's developed nations. A series of articles in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing addresses this issue. The articles - authored by ANSIRH researchers Diana Taylor and Amy Levi, and UCSF School of Nursing students Kim Dau and Evelyn Angel James - offer information on current pregnancy prevention strategies and a blueprint for a coordinated public health model of unintended pregnancy prevention. Primary care and women's health nurses are already important for women's contraceptive access, and will become increasingly crucial as U.S. healthcare evolves toward preventive care.

Reducing unintended pregnancies has been a goal for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services since 2002, but to date, the rate has not changed. In fact, the rate of unintended pregnancy has increased for young and low-income women. The authors point out that unintended pregnancy is a preventable occurrence, but one that requires a coordinated effort of health care providers with basic knowledge on evidence-based and effective care. The clinical skills required to offer the full range of contraceptive methods may not have been offered to nurses and primary care clinicians during their training. The authors offer resources that will help clinicians better prepare to promote preconception care and the overall reproductive health of women at risk of an unintended pregnancy.