September 22, 2015
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One quarter of teens obtaining abortion had previous pregnancy

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In the UK, nearly one quarter of women aged between 15 and 19 years who obtain abortions have had at least one previous pregnancy, according to recently published data.

“The continuing high proportion of teenagers who have an abortion following one or more previous pregnancies highlights the complexity of these young women’s lives and we need to recognize that the circumstances of each pregnancy may be different. Our results clearly demonstrate that young women who become pregnant can be considered a high-risk group for subsequent, unplanned, mistimed or unwanted pregnancies, emphasizing the importance of embedding preventative actions and behaviors among this group after a birth or abortion,” Lisa Ann McDaid, MSc, a postgraduate research student at the School of Health and Sciences at University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, said in a press release.

To assess the proportion of women living in England and Wales, aged 15 to 19 years, who received an abortion and had previously had one or more pregnancies, McDaid and colleagues analyzed data from the Office of National Statistic and the Department of Health.

Results demonstrated that in 2013, 22.9% of women obtaining an abortion had been pregnant previously, which resulted in either an abortion (13.4%) or birth (12.2%).

Since 1992, a 33% increase was seen in abortions following a previous pregnancy, according to study results. The researchers noted that the majority of the increase occurred before 2004 and has since stabilized.

Only 5% of women obtaining an abortion had more than one previous pregnancy.

McDaid and colleagues noted that developing more effective interventions for first-time pregnant or parenting teenagers is vital to aiding in unplanned pregnancy prevention.

“The teenage years are a unique time where a number of different changes and challenges are faced. In-depth work to explore teenagers’ experiences of subsequent pregnancies and the factors that influence their sexual and contraceptive behaviors is needed to increase understanding of the complexities of the issues involved,” McDaid said in a press release. – by Casey Hower

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.