How many pregnancies are accidental?

The word I’ve most frequently been exposed to, or embraced using myself, to discuss unplanned pregnancies is “surprise”. In fact, on Facebook a month or so ago, I asked you guys if your pregnancies were planned or surprises and about half of you said “surprise”. I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding there, however. When I say “surprise”, I don’t mean “I’m an adult and I wasn’t using birth control because I was thinking maybe a baby would be okay, but I still couldn’t believe a sperm met an egg and there’s a human growing inside me. OMG! Boy, I am surprised!”  I mean, “I did not plan to be pregnant at all.”

I think I used the wrong word when I chose surprise, and now I’ve come upon a survey that set me straight — and answered the question I’ve always wondered: How many pregnancies are unintended? Like serious surprises.

My friend Stacey sent me a link that led me to large-scale survey orchestrated by The Childbirth Connection. A research firm fielded bazillions of questions about maternity, childbirth, and the state of mothers. The survey was conducted online, so the participants were women with access to the Internet. When I read the numbers regarding pregnancy “intendedness” (the word used in the research report), I felt satisfied.

Then I made this graphic to show you.


If you’re  a data geek or interested in maternal health care, birth, or breastfeeding, see all the survey results here.

The following two tabs change content below. co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.