The Importance of Local Data in Unintended Pregnancy Prevention Programming
Objective: Lack of local data on pregnancy intendedness poses a serious problem for those responsible for regional program development and evaluation. This article demonstrates how the Boulder County Health Department addressed this problem by conducting its own assessment. The information gathered served as the basis for collaborative population-based programming and policy development aimed at decreasing unintended pregnancy in the county. Methods: A random-digit-dial telephone survey of 300 men and 300 women was conducted to estimate the prevalence of unintended pregnancy and establish groups at highest risk. Qualitative data regarding the psychosocial and contextual factors associated with unintended pregnancy were gathered in six focus groups conducted with 46 males and females aged 18–28 who had experienced an unintended pregnancy. Results: The prevention strategies identified by the focus group participants lead to the development of locally relevant interventions among specific high-risk populations identified in the telephone survey. Programmatic and policy initiatives included raising awareness among key service providers and the community at large, creative means of bringing information and resources to those at risk, strengthening the delivery of clinical services, and promoting school involvement in unintended pregnancy prevention. Conclusion: Maternal and child health authorities should encourage the collection and use of pregnancy intendedness data at the local level.
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