Unintended Pregnancy | Categories Utah Women and Reproductive Health | DOI: 10.26054/0KEEPY9YT7


Unintended pregnancy is a major public health problem. Women who experience an unintended pregnancy are less likely to seek timely and adequate prenatal care or to breastfeed their infant and are more likely to smoke or drink during their pregnancy (Committee on Unintended Pregnancy, 1995).

Utah Data

Healthy People 2010 goal 9-1 is to decrease the proportion unintended pregnancy to 30 percent. Utah PRAMS data indicate that in 2004, 31.4% of women with a live birth reported their pregnancy as unintended. Of the women who reported their pregnancy as unintended, 56.8% indicated they were using a method of birth control at the time of conception. The methods these women reported are noted below.

Unintended pregnancy figure 1
Figure 1. Bar graph showing the method of birth control versus percent of self-reported responses from women with an unintended pregnancy. Source: Utah PRAMS Data, 2004.

Of the remaining 43.2% of women with an unintended pregnancy who were not using some form of birth control, the reasons indicated were as follows:

Unintended pregnancy figure 2
Figure 2. Responses from the 43.2% of women with an unintended pregnancy who were not preventing pregnancy at the time of conception. Source: Utah PRAMS Data, 2004.

Risk Factors

Although Utah is very close to achieving the Healthy People goal, there are subgroups of women with significantly higher rates of unintended pregnancy. Utah PRAMS data from 2004 indicate that women who are less than 20 years of age (71.2%), have less than a high school education (50.9%), are of non-white race (40.6%), are of Hispanic ethnicity (37.6%), are unmarried (66.9%), are uninsured (47.9%), and who report physical abuse before pregnancy (72.8%) have significantly higher rates of unintended pregnancy. Women with an unintended pregnancy are also more likely to report postpartum depression (10.7% vs 23.8%).


The Community Health Centers and Planned Parenthood clinics in the state offer low cost contraceptive services. In 2006, the FDA allowed over/behind the counter distribution of emergency contraception. Currently, it is not known how widely available emergency contraception is in the state.


  • Committee on Unintended Pregnancy, The Best Intentions: Unintended Pregnancy and the Well-Being of Children and Families, ed. S.S. Brown and L. Eisenberg. 1995. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 380.

Laurie Baksh, MPH

Editorial Advisory Board, 2007 Utah Health Review, Women's Health in Utah