Unintended pregnancy is a major public health problem with known risk factors, however, little is known about the prevalence of variables associated with recurrent unintended pregnancy (RUP) among young, unmarried women.
A retrospective cohort study of unmarried women aged 18–21 serving in the Israeli military between 2013 and 2015. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to examine associations between RUP and women’s education, IQ, immigration status, country of origin, socioeconomic status and history of psychiatric illness.
Of 129,638 women drafted by the Israeli military during the study period, 1720 women with unintended pregnancies had a follow up period of at least a year. Three hundred and eighty-nine of them had RUP (22.6%). Multivariable models comparing women with no unintended pregnancies and women with RUP revealed that RUP was more common among (adjusted relative risk; 95% confidence interval) women who had not graduated from high school (6.9; 4.99–9.55), who had low (90–99) IQ scores (3.9; 2.88–5.39) those reporting Africa as the country of origin (2.5; 1.37–4.59) and those from a lower socioeconomic neighborhood (1.6; 1.18–2.05). Multivariate regression modeling comparing women with single unintended pregnancies and women with RUPs showed that recurrent unintended pregnancy was more common among women who had not graduated from high school (3.2; 2.04–4.84) and those who had a low (90–99) IQ score (1.9; 1.32–2.61).
Rate of RUP is high among women serving in the Israeli military. These women have unique epidemiological characteristics. This may serve in identifying populations at high risk and thus may enable policy maker to offer at least to this population Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) methods. We encourage policy makers to consider the provision of LARC methods to all servicewomen who had an unintended pregnancy.