2017 Issues   /   Women's Health

Unintended Pregnancy More Likely in Active-Duty Troops

USM By U.S. Medicine
May 19, 2017

TACOMA WA — Unintended pregnancy is reportedly to be higher in the military population, according to a new study seeking to determine the rates of unintended pregnancy among active duty servicemembers compared to other military healthcare beneficiaries.

The article in Military Medicine report on the use of a validated six-question survey administered to patients aged 18-42. The cohort was surveyed in five different clinics at three major tertiary military hospitals from December 2013 to December 2014.1

Madigan Army Medical Center-led researchers scored individual survey questions 0, 1 or 2 and tabulated a total score. For the study, a total score of 0 to 3 indicated unintended pregnancy, 4 to 9 indicated ambivalence toward pregnancy, and 10 to 12 indicated intended pregnancy. Subanalysis was performed on two survey questions specifically looking at pregnancy intentions.

Overall, 1,211 completed surveys were analyzed. Results indicated that 6.9% of all respondents had an unintended pregnancy, compared to 23% of pregnancies in single active duty women.

Single, active duty servicemembers were more likely to indicate they did not intend to get pregnant or want a baby before becoming pregnant.

“Overall, the rate of unintended pregnancy among military healthcare beneficiaries is low,” study authors concluded. “However, single active duty women are at significantly higher risk for unintended pregnancy, and specifically targeted interventions should be implemented for this population.”

  1. Heitmann RJ, Batig AL, Levy G, Novotney J, Grubbs C 3rd, Batig TS, Gobern JM, Hemman E, Christy AY, Hill MJ. Unintended Pregnancy in the Military Health Care System: Who is Really at Risk? Mil Med. 2016 Oct;181(10):1370-1374. PubMed PMID: 27753577.

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