A NEW study has found Australian women are turning their backs on contraception, with more than half of unintended pregnancies being a result of unprotected sex.
La Trobe University interviewed over 2000 women and the report was published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
“Planned parenthood has important benefits for maternal and infant health. Monitoring and preventing unintended pregnancy is therefore an important public health goal,” the report said.
Of the 2571 women interviewed, 1390 women, or 69.1 per cent, had been pregnant within the last decade, of those 1390 women, 362 had no intention of falling pregnant when they did.
The research found 56.6 per cent of women who had an unintentional pregnancy were not using contraception at the time.
As for women who did use contraception but still got pregnant, oral contraceptive pill was the most popular method (64 per cent), followed by condoms (27 per cent), long-acting reversible contraception (6 per cent), diaphragm or contraceptive vaginal ring (1 per cent) and 2 per cent used withdrawal or emergency contraception.
Professor Angela Taft said more research was needed to explore why women were not using some form of contraception and to determine where education would be helpful.
Majority of the women (68 per cent) did say they wanted the pregnancy, while 26 per cent said the pregnancy was unwanted.
Overall, of the 362 women who experienced an unplanned pregnancy, 194 gave birth, almost a third of women (110) terminated the pregnancy, 55 women experienced a miscarriage.
While the research shows nearly half the women who fell pregnant by accident were having unprotected sex, the research does not explore why women were doing so. The report acknowledges more research will be needed in this area.
Contraception is widely accessible in Australia and the La Trobe report notes clinicians and services should pay attention to women who are at highest risk of falling pregnant.