Client(s): Boulder County Health Department
Service: Health Services Research and Evaluation
Technical Expertise: Women's Health
Americans increasingly desire smaller families, and women are shortening their childbearing years. As a result, Americans are spending more of their lives choosing to avoid pregnancy and in need of effective contraception (Stout, Shupe, & McLaughlin, 1998). However, the majority of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. Unintended pregnancies are associated with increased social, emotional, and health stressors for those affected by or born of such pregnancies.
Due to changing demographics within Boulder County in recent years, as well as continued commitment to evidence-based public health interventions, BCPH identified the need for more current information on unintended pregnancy rates and related factors. In support of the need for new research, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provided funds to BCPH to conduct this research study. Within this context, BCPH contracted with JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. to explore general definitions and impressions of unintended pregnancy, factors associated with unintended pregnancy, and best practices for unintended pregnancy prevention.
The purpose and intent of the study was to advance the BCPH’s broader goal of reducing the rate if unintended pregnancy in the community. The key areas of interest to the BCPH included: the demographics and disparities of unintended pregnancy rates; perceptions of untended pregnancy; repercussions of unintended pregnancy, obstacles to and resources for prevention. This report was directed to local public health professionals; administrators of relevant health and social service programs, including those who are active in the fields of family planning, specifically, and reproductive health generally;
social services and child welfare; and policymakers at the state and local levels and any other community leaders in a position to act on the conclusions of the report.
The results of the assessment helped inform the reorganization of the BCPH in terms of more fully integrating sexual and reproductive health services.