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J Adolesc Health. 2008 Oct;43(4):364-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.02.013. Epub 2008 May 29.

Is there a trend of increased unwanted childbearing among young women in the United States?

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  • 1Division of Reproductive Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA. DKissin@cdc.gov

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The majority of births to young women are unintended (either mistimed or unwanted), bearing an increased risk of poor health outcomes for both mother and child. In this analysis, we describe trends of unwanted, mistimed, and intended births reported by all women and specifically by young women in the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).

METHODS:

Using data from the 1982, 1988, 1995, and 2002 NSFG surveys, we calculated the proportion of unwanted, mistimed, and intended births by maternal age at birth. For the 1995 and 2002 NSFG surveys, we also assessed birth intentions among 15-24-year-old nulliparous women and the mean number of unwanted births in the past 5 years among all 15-24-year-old women.

RESULTS:

The proportion of unintended births decreased between 1988 and 1995 but increased between 1995 and 2002. This recent increase was attributed to the increased proportion of unwanted births reported by women <25 years of age from 10.4% in 1995 to 18.6% in 2002 (p < .01). Between 1995 and 2002, the proportion of 15-24-year-old nulliparous women who intended no future births increased from 8.1% to 10.4% (p < .05), and the mean number of unwanted births per 1000 women aged 15-24 years increased from 25 to 48 (p < .01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our analyses suggest an increasing trend in unwanted childbearing among young women between 1995 and 2002. Further research is needed to understand the meaning and causes of increased unwanted childbearing among young women and to identify characteristics of those at risk.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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