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More Than a Third of Births 'Unintended': CDC
Date:7/24/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- More than a third of births in the United States stem from unintended pregnancies, a number that's remained steady in the United States from 1982 to 2010, a new government report indicates.

The make-up of women having these births, however, has shifted over time from white to Hispanic and to those in their teens and 20s, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We have made no progress since 1982 in reducing the percentage of births that are unintended," said report author William Mosher, a statistician at CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. "It was 37 percent in 1982, and it's still 37 percent."

The report was released Tuesday.

"Intended" births are planned, Mosher said. "Unintended" births are those that are either "mistimed," which means they occur either a short time or years before the mother had planned to become pregnant or "unwanted," which means a mother did not want the pregnancy, whether or not she already had other children.

For example, in 2008, of the roughly 4.2 million births, 1.6 million were unintended, 600,000 were unwanted, another 600,000 were mistimed by more than two years and 400,000 were mistimed by less than two years, according to Mosher.

"There was only one group where we made some progress and that is among white married women," Mosher said. "But, they account for a smaller and smaller proportion of the births."

In 1982, white women accounted for 66 percent of all births. In 2006-2010 they accounted for 43 percent, Mosher noted.

"More unmarried women and more particularly more Hispanic women account for more of the births these days than 30 years ago," he said.

"The ability to have births when you want them varies across the population," Mosher said.

Women who have mistimed births of less than two years are more likely to be better ed
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