Preventing unwanted Pregnancies

The issue of unwanted pregnancies affects the individuals responsible, families, the society, and the government. It changes the way that people live and the plans that they had made. Young people have to discontinue with their education for some time and adults have to rearrange their lives to accommodate the new member of the family. In some cases, people opt for abortion to get rid of the unwanted fetus. In other cases, some choose to carry the baby full term and give it up for adoption. People do not have to endure suffering or a disruption in their lives because of unwanted pregnancies. They can use different methods to ensure that the situation does not happen. This responsibility falls on both the man and the woman engaged in the affair. Contraception and abstinence are some of the most effective ways of preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Over the years, researchers have identified different methods of contraception. They have worked on safety as well as convenience and comfort. This has led to the development of different contraception methods. Some of the methods include using condoms and pills. They are the most common methods used to prevent pregnancies. However, other methods are available. According to Tsui et al. (2010), long-term contraceptive methods such as the use of intrauterine devices and contraceptive implants are more effective than the shorter-term methods. Some of the methods used are hormonal. Thus includes the use of implants, vaginal rings, oral contraceptives, patches, and injectables. Other than intrauterine devices, other barrier methods include both male and female condoms. In some cases, people opt for permanent methods such as surgical sterilization. This is especially the case with married couples who may want to enjoy sex but they do not want any more children. In rare cases, some people rely on natural methods such as withdrawal and fertility awareness. Such methods are the least effectiveness and they require the most effort among those who are sexually active.

Contraceptive methods do not work the same way and they do not have the same efficacy rates. For instance, oral contraceptive pills work differently for teenagers and adults. Among adults, there is a 9% failure rate compared to 13% failure rate among teenagers (Winner et al. 2012, p. 1999). The failure risk increases for high-risk sub groups. the increased failure risk can be attributed to the effort that people use when using the pills. This is because one has to take the pill daily for it to be effective. In addition, contraception risk increases when women who are less than 21 years old opt to use patches, or virginal rings (Winner et al. 2012 p. 2005). Long-term methods such as implants and IUDs do not depend on the user and this decreases their failure rate. Condoms are one of the most common contraception methods used. In many cases, people opt for dual protection. They will use condoms as well as pills or other long-term methods. Condoms are available freely in many places. Government and non-governmental agencies have made the effort of providing condoms in most places. Therefore, their ready availability is an advantage. However, failure can result from slippage or breakage when one is using a condom (Trussell et al. 2004).

Other than cost and availability, most people base their contraception choices based on the side effects that each method has. For instance, despite the high effectiveness of implants, some women may avoid using them because of the associated side effects. The most notable side effect is unpredictable bleeding. This causes many women to avoid this method of contraception or to discontinue it (Winner et al. 2005). Emergency contraceptive pills cause some side effects such as vomiting, nausea, and drowsiness. The use of copper intrauterine devices is not suitable for women at high risk of getting sexually transmitted infections. This is because it increases their risk of getting pelvic infections. However, women with a low risk of getting sexually transmitted infections do not have such side effects (Trussell, 2004, p. S33). Some women discontinue the use of oral contraceptives because of weight gain. Others are concerned about the formation of thrombosis or blood clots and the possibility of getting cancer. These concerns are some of the side effects of oral contraceptives. However, they only represent a few cases as many of the women do not experience such side effects. Tubal sterilization is one of the permanent methods used. However, it has led to failure in some cases as some of the women using this form of contraceptive have ended up becoming pregnant. In addition, it is difficult to reverse the procedure and many women who try to do this have ended up incurring abortions (Skouby, 2004).

Education and awareness are some of the most effective means of preventing unwanted pregnancies. Through them, people get a chance to know the available methods that they can use. They learn how to acquire and use different contraceptives. They learn about the side effects of the methods available as well as their effectiveness. This enables them to make informed decisions concerning their reproduction and it decreases the chances of becoming pregnant when they are not ready. Tolley et al. (2005) observe that lack of education concerning the possible side effects of different contraceptives leads to discontinuation of contraceptive use. This leads to unwanted pregnancies. Therefore, education is an important factor in preventing unwanted pregnancies. Adults and young people have the chance to learn through school based and community based programs. Adults can access the information they need through their local health providers in settings such as clinics and hospitals. In some cases, health practitioners are reluctant to offer family planning and contraceptive advice to women suffering from conditions such as heart disease. This limits the options that such women have and it denies them the chance to plan their families. In the end, the over cautious nature of the health practitioners contributes to unwanted pregnancies (Thorne, McGregor and Piercy, 2006).

The methods used for preventing unwanted pregnancies among teenagers may not have the same results as when they are applied to adults. This is because the two groups have different needs and they are at different situations in their lives. Teenagers and young people tend to be influenced a lot by their peers. They do not have as much information concerning pregnancies as adults do. These factors are important when deciding the programs to implement in an effort to reduce unwanted pregnancies. One effective action that would help to prevent unwanted pregnancy among young people is school-based programs. Such programs enable people to teach life skills to teenagers in school. Through the skills, teenagers learn how they can set goals and priorities for their lives and the importance of preventing pregnancies when they are young. They also learn more about sexual education. This includes lessons on the consequences of pregnancy as well as the methods used to prevent pregnancy. By understanding how the body develops and functions, young people are in a greater position of preventing unwanted pregnancies. They receive information on where they can get the contraceptives they need as well as the effectiveness of all the methods (Frost and Forrest, 1995).

Government intervention can help to reduce or prevent unwanted pregnancies. Even if people are aware of the different contraceptives methods to use, they cannot prevent unwanted pregnancies if they do not have the means to do so. By subsidizing costs or offering some preventive measures freely, the government will make it possible for people to access the birth control methods they desire. The government and health practitioners should take every measure to ensure that people are able to access the education and information as well as other resources they need to ensure that they are able to prevent unwanted pregnancies. This includes providing an environment where young men and women do not feel intimidated when they go for counseling sessions concerning sexual education or contraceptives. The government should also ensure that it makes it possible for people to access different contraceptives. People react differently to the contraceptives they use. This should not be a hindrance in accessing contraceptives.  

Abstinence is the most definitive way of preventing unwanted pregnancies. It involves self-denial of sex until such a time when one is ready. However, most people find it difficult. It is the least effective way of preventing pregnancy among married people or among those who are sexually active. Abstinence can be intermittent and one does not have to abstain for a long time. Those who opt for this method have to have a lot of self-will. However, it has many advantages. In addition to preventing pregnancies, it ensures that people do not get sexually transmitted diseases. 

Preventing unwanted pregnancies requires a lot of input from individuals and the government as well. It is possible to reduce such cases if people have the right information and resources. Educating and raising awareness concerning the importance of planned pregnancies will benefit young people who are sexually active. Making contraceptives available and providing a suitable environment will ensure that people have access to the information they need.


Black, A, Francoeur, D & Rowe T 2004, ‘Canadian contraception consensus’, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 389-436

Frost, JJ & Forrest, DJ 1995, ‘Understanding the impact of effective teenage pregnancy prevention programs’, Family Planning Perspectives, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 188-195

Skouby, SO 2004, ‘Contraceptive use and behavior in the 21st century: a comprehensive study across five European countries’, European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 57-68

Thorne, S, MacGregor, A & Piercy, NC 2006, ‘Risks of contraception and pregnancy in heart disease’, Heart, vol. 92, no. 10, pp. 1520-1525

Tolley, E, Loza, S, Kafafi, L & Cummings, S 2005, ‘The impact of menstrual side effects on contraceptive discontinuation: findings from a longitudinal study in Cairo, Egypt’, International Family Planning Perspectives, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 15-22

Trussell, J, Ellertson, C, Stewart, F, Raymond, GE & Shochet, T 2004, ‘The role of emergency contraception’, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, vol. 190, pp. S30-S38

Tsui, OA, Mosley, MR & Burke, EA 2010, ‘Family planning and the burden of unintended pregnancies’, Epidemiologic Reviews, vol. 32, pp. 152-174.

Westhoff, LC, Heartwell, S, Edwards, S, Zieman, M, Stuart G, Cwiak C & Davis, A 2008, ‘Oral contraceptive discontinuation: do side effects matter?’, American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, vol. 196, no. 4, pp. 1-14

Winner, B, Peipert FJ, Zhao, Q, Buckel, C, Madden, T, Allsworth, EJ & Secura, M 2012, ‘Effectiveness of long-acting reversible contraception’, The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 366, no. 21, pp. 1998-2007.

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