Low social support is tied to undesired pregnancy risk

  • Contraception

  • curated by Elisabeth Aron, MD, MPH, FACOG
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Undesired pregnancy rates are higher in young women who report low social support.

Why this matters

  • Social support may play a role in contraception use and unintended pregnancy rates, information that could be used to influence family planning policy.
  • Ethnic differences in the perception of social support may exist.

Key results

  • 5% of participants reported "almost never having someone to whom they could turn."
  • 46% of pregnancies were undesired.
  • Black women were more likely to report low social support (8% vs 4%; P=.02).
  • In general, women reporting low social support were more likely to have sex before age 16 years, have ≥2 sexual partners, and have sex without birth control.
  • Contraception use was lower in nonblack women with low support (OR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.5-0.9) but not in black women reporting low social support (OR, 0.9; 95% CI, 0.3-2.7).

Study design

  • Cohort was taken from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life Study, a population-based, prospective study of 1003 people aged 18-22 years between 2008 and 2012 examining pregnancy, relationships, and contraceptive use.
  • Primary outcome was undesired pregnancy. 
  • Funding: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; National Institute on Drug Abuse; University of Michigan. 
Limitations
  • Small numbers in study.

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