In the first research to document unintended pregnancies in the United States since 2001, researchers at the Guttmacher Institute in New York found that of the 6.7 million pregnancies in 2006, 49 percent were unintended. In 2001, that number was 48 percent.
The research was published in the journal Contraception.
The unintended pregnancy rate among poor women ages 15 to 44 rose from 88 per 1,000 women in 1994 to 132 per 1,000 women in 2006 — a 50 percent increase. During the same period, the rate among higher-income women dropped from 34 per 1,000 women to 24 per 1,000.
While some women who unintentionally become pregnant ultimately embrace those pregnancies, the study notes, unintended childbearing is often "associated with a number of adverse maternal behaviors and child health outcomes, including inadequate or delayed initiation of prenatal care, smoking and drinking during pregnancy, premature birth and lack of breast-feeding, as well as negative physical and mental health effects on children."