Twenty Somethings Report 70% Unintended Pregnancy Rate


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Prevention First Colorado
Media Contact: Toni Panetta
(303) 394-1973 ext 17(626) 676-3482

National Research Parallels Colorado Findings
r.e.Factors Contributing to Unintended Pregnancy

Denver (Dec. 15) — Today, the Washington, D.C.-based National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy revealed that among unmarried women in their 20s nationwide, fully seven in 10 pregnancies are unplanned. These findings reflect the reality that sexually active, unmarried young adults who do not want to be parents right now are not using birth control consistently and correctly to prevent themselves from unintended pregnancy.

The national research, released today in “The Fog Zone: How Misperceptions, Magical Thinking, and Ambivalence Put Young Adults at Risk for Unplanned Pregnancy,” is consistent with statewide, phone-survey research into causes of unintended pregnancy among Colorado women aged 18-44 carried out by Prevention First Colorado.

Among Colorado women, the Prevention First Colorado research found:

Nearly one-fourth (23%) of Caucasian women on Medicaid and one-fifth (18%) of Caucasian women living in small towns or rural communities reported using no contraceptive as their primary method of birth control compared to 15% of all Caucasian women who participated in the survey.

Nearly 6 out of every 10 (57%) Caucasian women on Medicaid in the survey had had sex without birth control when they did not want to be pregnant — compared to 39% of all Caucasian women in the survey.

More than three-fourths (77%) of Caucasian women on Medicaid and 58% of Caucasian women living in rural and small-town communities in Colorado had experienced an unintended pregnancy compared to 42 percent of the full survey sample.

Planning appeared to be the most important factor in contraceptive use: Colorado women who reported behaviors consistent with planning for contraceptive use were more likely to use effective birth control methods, less likely to experience unintended pregnancy, and less likely to report having had sex without contraceptives when trying to not get pregnant.

Colorado women with a bachelor’s degree or higher reported more planning for contraceptive use and fewer barriers related to partner-to-partner communication and psychological concerns than women with lower degrees of educational attainment.

Colorado women living in small towns or rural areas indicated that they plan for contraceptive use less and experience more psychological barriers than their suburban counterparts.

Colorado women who changed their contraceptive method during the last year, those with less than a bachelor’s degree, and those living in small-town or rural communities were among demographic groups more likely to have experienced an unintended pregnancy.

Costs related to contraceptive counseling, drugs, devices and procedures and accessibility of contraceptive counseling, drugs, devices and procedures were more significant barriers for women on Medicaid in Colorado and those living in rural or small-town communities than for the full sample of women surveyed.

Prevention First Colorado Statewide Telephone Survey

Prevention First Colorado contracted with an outside vendor to place more than 2,100 calls in fall 2007 to qualifying households to yield 801 completed surveys of women aged 18 to 44 throughout Colorado. The audience sampled included an over-representation of Hispanic women (Hispanic women represented 30% of completed surveys compared to 21% of Colorado’s total female population). Once a woman aged 18 to 44 was identified, additional screening questions were asked to eliminate women who were pregnant or not sexually active. Verbal consent was given by the women to participate in the study and they were informed that they could terminate their participation in the study at any time. Finally, the survey questions were administered and the women were assured that their phone number was not associated with their data and the call was terminated. The survey took an average of 12 to 13 minutes to complete. A summary of findings from the telephone survey is available online at:

The telephone survey constituted the second of four research components carried out by the Prevention First Colorado program, following a survey administered through health-care clinics throughout Colorado and preceding four focus groups and 40 in-depth interviews. All Prevention First Colorado research examining unintended pregnancy in Colorado is available online at:

“The Fog Zone: How Misperceptions, Magical Thinking, and Ambivalence Put Young Adults at Risk for Unplanned Pregnancy” released by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy will be available online at:

Prevention First Colorado is a program that includes a coalition of non-profit organizations convened by Denver-based NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Foundation whose mission is to support the reproductive health of women and girls in Colorado. The primary focus is increasing the overall health and economic self-sufficiency of Colorado women and girls by empowering them to prevent unintended pregnancy. Prevention First Colorado believes that every child in Colorado should be a wanted child and that every woman and man in the state should have the appropriate education and knowledge to make effective family planning choices to create healthy women, healthy children, and healthy families.


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.