Prevalence and distribution of unintended pregnancy: The understanding fertility management in Australia national survey

Heather Rowe, Sara Holton, Maggie Kirkman, Christine Bayly, Lynne Jordan, Kathleen McNamee, John McBain, Vikki Sinnott, Jane Fisher

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Mistimed, unexpected or unwanted pregnancies occur in Australia, despite widespread contraception use. The objective was to estimate prevalence and ascertain modifiable social factors for prevention of unintended pregnancy.
National population-based survey of women and men aged 18-51 years recruited from a random sample of electors on the Australian Electoral Roll in 2013. Data were weighted to reduce non-response bias. Factors associated with unintended pregnancy were identified in multivariable analyses.
Data from 2,235 completed questionnaires were analysed (Women: 69%; Men: 31%). Of those ever pregnant or partner in pregnancy (59%), 40% had experienced an unintended pregnancy. Adjusting for other risks, ever having experienced sexual coercion (AOR, 95%CI=Women 1.948; 1.458-2.601; Men 1.657, 1.014-2.708); socioeconomic disadvantage (AOR, 95%CI=Women 1.808, 1.373, 2.381; Men 1.360, 1.004-1.841), living in a rural area (AOR, 95%CI=Women 1.403, 1.056-1.864; Men 1.583, 1.161-2.159), and for men being born overseas (AOR, 95%CI 1.989, 1.317-3.002) were significantly associated with unintended pregnancy.
Experiences of sexual coercion, social disadvantage, rural residence and overseas birth are independently associated with unintended pregnancy in Australia.
Public health policy and health service initiatives should prioritise prevention of sexual coercion, reduction of social inequality and reduction of geographic inequality for those in rural areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-109
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • unintended pregnancy
  • Australia
  • prevention

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