Editorials

Unplanned and assisted conception pregnancies

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d4996 (Published 05 August 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4996
  1. Jessica D Gipson, assistant professor1,
  2. John S Santelli, professor and chair2
  1. 1Department of Community Health Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772, USA
  2. 2Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
  1. jgipson{at}ucla.edu

High prevalence of unplanned pregnancy warrants primary and secondary prevention efforts

Among the most important decisions that individuals and couples face during their reproductive years is if and when to have a child, and how many children to have. Ideally, pregnancy occurs if and when it is desired. However, reproductive outcomes commonly occur that are contrary to plans and desires. Infertility affects 15-25% of couples worldwide, while four of every 10 pregnancies that occur globally are considered to be unintended.1 2

In the linked study (doi:10.1136/bmj.d4473), Carson and colleagues assess cognitive abilities (verbal, non-verbal, and spatial) in children of women who considered their pregnancies to be unplanned, mistimed, and planned, as well as women who were subfertile, needed ovulation induction, or had assisted reproductive technology.3

Many studies have linked unintended pregnancies with negative health and social outcomes for mothers and children, including delayed and insufficient antenatal care, lower likelihood and shorter duration of breast feeding, and higher rates of depression and anxiety among mothers.4 …

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