Unplanned Pregnancies Among 20-Year-Olds on the Rise

Black and Latino young women have twice the rate of white women.

Posted: 05/03/2012 01:53 PM EDT

Last month, BET.com reported that teen pregnancies in the U.S. were down by a record rate — a whopping 44 percent decrease overall and a 9 percent drop among African-American female teens. But a new report states that unplanned pregnancies among women in their 20s have an opposite trend — they are going up.

Researchers from Guttmacher Institute found that 66 percent of all babies born to women in their 20s between the years 2001-2008 were unplanned. And poor women and women of color were especially at risk for unplanned pregnancies: The study found that Black women and Latinas had twice the rate of unplanned pregnancies as white women. Yet, Black women were the only group to see a decline in unplanned pregnancies during the years of 2001-2008.

According to MSNBC.com, researchers analyzed data about unplanned pregnancies, abortions and miscarriages from institutions such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and found the following:
—There were 3.4 million pregnancies in women in their 20s between 2001 and 2008. Of these, more than half, or 1.95 million, were unmarried women.
—The rate was highest in women ages 20 to 24, with 73 percent of pregnancies in this age group unplanned. In women 25 to 29, 63 percent were unplanned.
—In 2008, 54 percent of births to unmarried women in their 20s were the result of an unintended pregnancy. In comparison, only 31 percent of births among married women were a result of unintended pregnancy. Among all women, about half of pregnancies are unplanned.
—Women living in poverty were three to four times more likely than higher income women to have an unplanned pregnancy.
—Women who had only a high-school diploma were twice as likely as women with some college to get pregnant unintentionally.

So what's the deal?

Guttmacher policy expert Adam Sonfield told UPI.com that better access to health care, especially around reproductive health, could be the solution to this growing public health problem. He said:

"One of the most powerful ways that we can improve the health and well-being of women and their families is to make contraception easier and more affordable to use. Expanding insurance coverage and public funding for the most effective methods of contraception — and for the counseling and education needed to help women and couples choose the method that is best for them — can go a long way toward reducing unintended pregnancies and births in this high-risk age group."

Learn more about contraception options and how to prevent unplanned pregnancies here.

BET Health News - We go beyond the music and entertainment world to bring you important medical information and health-related tips of special relevance to Blacks in the U.S. and around the world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

(Photo: Don Farrall/Getty Images)

From Our Partners