P97| Volume 94, ISSUE 4, P420, October 2016

Effects of unplanned births on women of childbearing age

      Objectives: Unplanned births can have short- and long-term consequences on multiple aspects of women's lives, including their health, income and relationships. We assess how women who have experienced an unplanned birth reported that it impacted their lives, how they differ from women who had planned births and their current use of birth control.
      Methods: We used self-reported data from a nationally representative 2016 survey of 2000 women aged 18–44 to estimate outcomes and test for significant differences among populations.
      Results: Among women who had given birth, nearly 60% reported that one or more of their births were unplanned. Compared with women who had had planned births, women who had had an unplanned birth were more likely to be non-White and low income and less likely to have a college degree, be married or working. Women who had had an unplanned birth tended to negatively view its impact on their education, job, physical and mental health and income. Conversely, women reported that their unplanned birth had positive impacts on their relationship with their partner and on their motivation to achieve their goals. Most women who had had an unplanned birth (78%) did not want to become pregnant in the next year, but 26% of women who had had an unplanned birth had not used birth control in the past 6 months.
      Conclusions: Women say unplanned births had a generally negative effect on economic aspects of their lives. Despite their history and experiences, a substantial share of women who had had unplanned births were not using birth control.