Delaware named state with highest rate of unplanned pregnancies
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 23:09
Sixty-one percent of births in Delaware are unplanned, making ‘The First State’ also the state with the most unintended pregnancies, according to a study released last Monday.
The study, released by reproductive health think tank Guttmacher, measured frequencies in unintended pregnancies among women aged 15-44 living in the United States using data collected starting in 2002 until 2008. Sixty-four percent of unintended pregnancies in Delaware were mistimed—meaning the women surveyed wanted children but not at that specific time.
Lawrence Finer, director of the institute, stated in a press release that around half of pregnancies nationwide are unintended.
“Rates are twice as high in some southern states compared with those in some northeastern states—a variation that likely reflects differences in demographics and socioeconomic conditions across states,” Finer stated.
The role of alcohol and drugs is a significant factor in unplanned pregnancies for teenagers, nursing professor Judith Herrman said. College students must increase their knowledge and understanding in order to fully know they are safe from becoming pregnant or contracting an STD, Herrman said.
People must go into sexual activity with a knowledge of their own bodies and know the consequences for their decisions, Herrman said. She said communication between partners is key to a successful relationship.
In a press release by Guttmacher, Senior Public Policy Associate Adam Sonfield urged for more publicly-funded family planning services, stating these programs are proven to be successful.
“In the absence of the services provided at publicly-funded family centers, the costs of unintended pregnancy would be 60 percent higher than they are today,” Sonfield said.
In a 2011 study titled “The Public Costs of Births Resulting from Unintended Pregnancies” released by Guttmacher, it was found that 67.5 percent of births in Delaware were publically funded.
There are many kinds of contraceptives students at the university may not know about, Amelia Auner, vice president of public affairs at Planned Parenthood, said. These include condoms, birth control pills, intrauterine devices and the emergency contraceptive pill, Plan B, she said.
One type of contraceptive, ParaGard IUD, can be used to prevent a pregnancy up to five days after unprotected sex, Auner said. This IUD is one of the least expensive and longest lasting types of birth control, as it can last up to twelve years after inserted, she said.
If the condom is taken off before sexual activity is done, or if birth control pills are not taken everyday, pregnancy can still occur, Herrman said. She said knowledge is the key to preventing unplanned or unwanted pregnancies.
The Student Health Center could not be reached for comment.
“The contraceptive is only as successful as the person using it,” Herrman said.