Preventing unintended pregnancy
by Rosemary Davis-Gordon
Pregnancy can be a wonderful but stressful time in a couple’s life, even when planned. An unintended pregnancy can add further stress.
Unintended pregnancy is defined as a pregnancy that was mistimed, unplanned or unwanted at the time of conception. It is one of the most prevalent issues in health care today. It is a result of non-use, mis-use or inconsistent use of contraceptive methods.
Unintended pregnancies can have significant negative consequences for all individuals. It can compromise the health, development and economic stability of not just the mother and baby but society as a whole. In fact, unintended pregnancies cost taxpayers $21 billion in direct medical costs in 2010 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While only 5 percent of unintended pregnancies are a result of contraceptive method failure, 50 percent of all South Carolina pregnancies are unintended. In 2017, Choose Well partnered with various health centers, including HopeHealth, to ensure that all South Carolinians have access to contraceptive care in hopes of reducing the rate of unintended pregnancies 25 percent by the year 2021.
The five-year initiative expands contraceptive education and access across the state in efforts to reduce unintended pregnancy among women ages 15-44. The initiative helps provide free birth control, such as:
>> Nexplanon, a three-year implant inserted in the arm.
>> Skyla, a three-year IUD.
>> Liletta, a four-year IUD.
>> ParaGard, a 10-year IUD that contains no hormones.
Reducing the rate of unintended pregnancies in South Carolina begins with one simple question when a woman age 15-44 visits her provider: “Do you plan to be pregnant within the next year?”
If the answer is no, birth control options can be discussed with a health care provider specializing in contraceptive care. Family planning methods available through Choose Well include intrauterine devices (IUDs), Nexplanon implant, Depo-Provera, birth control pills, vaginal ring, condoms and the birth control patch.
Unintended pregnancy is a health care dilemma both at the state and national level. However, it is preventable and contraceptive care is an important part of primary care services.
For more on preventing unintended pregnancy, talk with your provider or visit nodrama.org or ChoosewellSC.org.
Rosemary Davis-Gordon is board certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives as a nurse midwife and sees patients at HopeHealth in Manning. Davis-Gordon offers preventive care, screenings, counseling, family planning methods, prenatal care and treatment for hormonal conditions.