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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 00:37 GMT
One third of births 'not planned'
Pregnant woman
A third of pregnancies in Scotland may be unplanned
Unplanned pregnancies account for a third of births in Scotland, a study has suggested.

Researchers surveyed almost 4,000 women who attended an Edinburgh hospital for pre-birth care, along with a further 907 who were seeking abortions.

The study, published in The Lancet, found a third of pregnancies ending in childbirth were not "clearly" intended.

One in 10 were totally unintended while a quarter of women were ambivalent about their intention to get pregnant.

About 90% of the women who were seeking abortion said their pregnancies were unintended.

Emergency contraception was used by 113 women who asked for an abortion and 40 who planned to continue with the pregnancy.

Emergency contraception is unlikely to make a substantial difference to pregnancy rates
Professor Anna Glasier
University of Edinburgh

Researchers said the use of emergency contraception was low, even among women with no intention of conceiving, and was unlikely to reduce unintended pregnancy rates.

The authors concluded that ways must be found to improve the use of regular contraception.

Professor Anna Glasier, from the University of Edinburgh, led the research.

She said: "Understanding of sexual behaviour and patterns of contraceptive use is crucial for development of interventions to reduce unintended pregnancy.

"This survey needs to be repeated in other settings and, if the findings are similar elsewhere, a strategy will need to be developed to improve contraceptive use.

"We need to find ways to raise awareness of the real risks of pregnancy associated with lack of use of contraception or with incorrect or inconsistent use. Emergency contraception is unlikely to make a substantial difference to pregnancy rates."

Why are abortion rates so high?
15 Sep 06 |  Health

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