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Rates of Unintended Pregnancy Higher in Women With Disabilities

Authors say sex education, reproductive planning needed for women with disabilities

FRIDAY, March 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Pregnancies among women with disabilities are 40 percent more likely to be unintended versus pregnancies among women without disabilities, according to a study published online Feb. 26 in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

Willi Horner-Johnson, Ph.D., from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues used data from the 2011-2013 and 2013-2015 waves of the National Survey of Family Growth (5,861 pregnancies reported by 3,089 women) to examine pregnancy intendedness among U.S. women with disabilities.

The researchers found that a higher proportion of pregnancies were unintended among women with disabilities versus women without disabilities (53 versus 36 percent). The highest proportion of unintended pregnancies was seen among women with independent living disability (62 percent). The odds that a pregnancy was unintended were greater among women with any type of disability versus women without disabilities (odds ratio, 1.4). Odds ranged from 1.5 to 1.9 for women with hearing disability, cognitive disability, or independent living disability.

“People with disabilities should be fully included in sex education, and their routine care should incorporate discussion of reproductive planning,” the authors write.

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