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Contraceptive use and risk of unintended pregnancy in California


Abstract California is home to more than one out of eight American women of reproductive age. Because California has a large, diverse and growing population, national statistics do not necessarily describe the reproductive health of California women. This article presents risk for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among women in California based on the California Women’s Health Survey. Over 8900 women of reproductive age who participated in this survey between 1998 and 2001 provide estimates of access to care and use of family-planning methods in the state. We find that 49% of the female population aged 18–44 in California is at risk of unintended pregnancy. Nine percent (9%) of women at risk of an unintended pregnancy are not using any method of contraception, primarily for method-related reasons, such as a concern about side effects or a dislike of available contraceptive methods. Among women at risk for unintended pregnancy, we find disparities by race/ethnicity and education in use of contraceptive methods.

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