Around half of all of the pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, and it’s important to know the risks associated with unplanned pregnancies.

Unplanned pregnancies are very common, and they are categorized by pregnancies that are either unwanted or mistimed. According to the CDC, 49 percent of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned or unintended, but the rates are dropping, thanks largely to the use long-term birth control, like IUDs. Contraceptive failure, unprotected sex, incorrect usage of contraception and rape are the most common causes of unplanned pregnancies. Many women believe that all pregnancies are made equal, whether they were planned or not, but it’s important to understand that there are some risks associated with unplanned pregnancies.

The emotional and physical effects of unwanted pregnancies.

Women who are planning to get pregnant have the time to prepare themselves for the pregnancy, physically, financially and emotionally. Those preparations are much more important than many people believe. When a woman doesn’t have the time to plan for her pregnancy, it can lead to a number of adverse, long-term effects for both the baby and the mother, and a big part of these adverse effects is due to the fact that the woman was not in her optimal health to bear a child.

Women who have unplanned pregnancies are more likely to have stability issues within relationships, have a higher chance of developing mental-health problems, are more likely to experience physical abuse and are more likely to delay prenatal care. Children who were born as results of unplanned pregnancies are more likely to experience insecurity issues within their families, to engage in criminal behavior, to need psychiatric help and to receive welfare.

Teenagers who have unplanned pregnancies have an even higher risk of adverse effects. Teenage mothers have a greater risk for developing anemia, toxemia, birth complications and death during birth. Babies born to teenage mothers are more likely to suffer from birth injuries, low birth weight, and neurological defects, and they are twice as likely to die during their first year of life.

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What should you do if your pregnancy is unexpected?

If you have been surprised by an unplanned pregnancy, and you wish to fully carry the pregnancy to term, then it’s important to take steps to start taking care of yourself right away, including:

  • Schedule an appointment with your doctor
  • Stop drinking alcohol
  • Stop using drugs
  • Stop smoking cigarettes
  • Start eating healthy
  • Discontinue taking any medication until you’ve talked to your doctor
  • Exercise
  • Get plenty of sleep

How can you reduce the risks associated with unplanned pregnancies?

Many of the physical risks associated with unplanned pregnancies can be greatly reduced by taking care of yourself properly on a regular basis. It’s also a good idea to get screened for any possible chronic diseases that you may be suffering from.

Regardless of whether you have experienced an unplanned pregnancy, a planned pregnancy or if you want to discuss your options regarding contraception, University Park Obstetrics and Gynecology can help. We have an OBGYN and a nurse midwife in our clinic in Bradenton, and we specialize in women’s health. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.