A third of Scottish pregnancies which are taken to full term are unintended, according to new research.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian family planning service has revealed the need to increase the use of contraception, both to avoid unwanted pregnancies and to improve the sexual health of the nation.
The survey involved 2,908 women who received ante-natal care at an Edinburgh hospital, as well as a further 907 who attended for an abortion.
It revealed that one in three pregnancies where women decided to keep the baby were "not clearly intended", while one in ten women claimed their pregnancy was "totally unintended".
A quarter of women were reported to be "somewhat ambivalent" about their intention to become pregnant.
"Unintended pregnancies that end in childbirth, unless they occur in teenagers, are of less concern to policymakers than those that end in abortion, but they do affect the lives of the women involved," said research leader Professor Anne Glasier.
"Understanding of sexual behaviour and patterns of contraceptive use is crucial for development of interventions to reduce unintended pregnancy," she added.
The research is published in this week's issue of the Lancet.
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Sexual Health news : 17/11/2006