The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the average American woman will get an average of eight unwanted pregnancy-related health care visits in her lifetime.
The average woman will have two unwanted pregnancy related medical visits, the agency says.
More: The CDC says one out of every five women will experience a pregnancy-associated health care visit.
“A lot of people don’t think of it as unwanted pregnancy,” says Dr. Brenda Johnson, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
“People think of unwanted pregnancy as being a problem, like, ‘I didn’t want this happening.’
But it’s not.”
Dr. Johnson says the more than 4 million pregnancies that occur each year are not uncommon, and that most of the women will have no complications and recover.
“That’s when we have an opportunity to learn what happened, and get some of the prevention tools that we can use to prevent future pregnancies,” she says.
Johnson says one of the key lessons to learn from the new research is that most women are aware of the risks of having an unwanted pregnancy and are actively seeking out counseling and prenatal care.
But Dr. Johnson also said that the data shows that even in the face of a negative pregnancy test, many women will choose not to get pregnant.
“We know that when you’re not getting pregnant, you’re much more likely than you are not to feel like you need to get a pregnancy test done, and we know that if you’re getting pregnant that’s a much bigger problem,” she said.
“The fact that a lot of women are opting not to have a pregnancy and actually feel better about it is really a big step forward in terms of reducing unintended pregnancy and providing health care for women.”
Johnson also said the data points to another big step toward ending unwanted pregnancy: reducing stigma and promoting health information.
“I think the message we’re trying to get across is that pregnancy isn’t something that you have to be ashamed of.
It’s something that is normal,” she added.”
Pregnancy is a wonderful opportunity to have children and to build a family, and it is not a problem to be embarrassed about.
The fact that it is something that we should celebrate, that we’re not ashamed of it, it’s a very important message.”