Unplanned pregnancy

September 6, 2018

According to a recent Public Health England Guidance on health matters 1 , it is “crucial that women have a choice and control over reproduction in order to ensure that as many pregnancies as possible are planned and wanted”. In Britain 45% of pregnancies and ⅓ of births are unplanned.

Unplanned pregnancies can have negative impacts on the physical and mental wellbeing of both mother and child. This is especially harmful since children’s mind and body are affected by what happens during pregnancy and early childhood, with effects that can last all through life. Giving every child the best start in life is crucial, and the mother’s and father’s health are central to that.

Planned pregnancies are likely to be healthier due to the fact that the mother is mentally prepared –
emotionally well and ready to have a(nother) child in her life – and physically prepared, in that she is
healthy before and during the pregnancy.

Two groups are more at risk of unplanned pregnancies: women over 35 years of age all the way to
menopause, and teenagers.

Even though the amount of teenage pregnancies is decreasing, teenagers remain the group the most at risk of unplanned pregnancies. Teenage pregnancies have higher risks of infant death, decreased infant health and poor mental health of the mother.

Women over 35 are the least likely group to be using adequate contraception even though they are still sexually active. Your choice of contraception is crucial in preventing unwanted pregnancies; to learn
more about this go to our contraception section on the useful links page.

So what can you do?

You can make sure that if you do not want to get pregnant and are sexually active, you are using the
right contraception for you.

For more information about planning a pregnancy:


For more information about the different types of contraception available and where to find them:


If you are currently experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and considering abortion you are not alone. Abortion is available for free to those part of the NHS but can also be paid for privately. For more information:



1. Public Health England. ‘Health Matters: Reproductive Health and Pregnancy Planning’. GOV.UK.
Accessed 3 September 2018. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-matters-reproductive-health-and-pregnancy-planning/health-matters-reproductive-health-and-pregnancy-planning.

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