Unintended pregnancy among active-duty women in the United States military, 2011
Grindlay K, Grossman D. Unintended pregnancy among active-duty women in the United States military, 2011. Contraception. 2015 Dec;92(6):589-95
Objectives: To estimate unintended pregnancy rates among a representative sample of active-duty women in the U.S. military aged 18–44 years in 2011.
Study Design: Cross-sectional data came from the 2011 Department of Defense Health Related Behaviors Survey of Active Duty Military Personnel; 9038 women provided data on unintended pregnancy. Unintended pregnancy rates were calculated for all women and by available background characteristics, including military branch, marital status (married versus unmarried), pay grade (enlisted versus officer) and deployment in the previous 12 months. Multivariable logistic regression testing for associations between unintended pregnancy and subgroups was also performed.
Results: The unintended pregnancy rate was 72/1000 women. Married women (odds ratio (OR) 1.30, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11–1.54) and enlisted women (OR 2.71, 95% CI 1.99–3.69) had higher odds of reporting unintended pregnancy compared to their counterparts, as did women in the Navy (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.19–1.91) and Marine Corps (OR 2.38, 95% CI 1.92–2.95) compared to women in the Air Force. Unintended pregnancy rates did not differ between women who were deployed in the previous 12 months and nondeployed women. Additionally, 10% of women who were deployed for 11–12 months in 2011 reported an unintended pregnancy in the previous year, suggesting that their pregnancies occurred during deployment.
Conclusion: Unintended pregnancy is higher in the military, including during deployment, compared to the general U.S. population (52/1000 women). All branches need to address the issue in a comprehensive manner including evidence-based provision of contraception and education among servicemembers.
Implications: Unintended pregnancy is high in the military, including during deployment; further efforts to improve evidence-based provision of contraception and education are needed.