The Truth About Unintended Pregnancy in Colorado

Sex, unintended pregnancy and contraception can be tough and even taboo conversation topics. The fact that they are so hard to talk about is a problem because these topics can have a big impact on the health of a person and their communities. Unintended pregnancies are linked to late entry into prenatal care, birth defects, low birth weight, elective abortions, maternal depression, reduced rates of breastfeeding and increased risk of physical violence during pregnancy. Children born as the result of an unintended pregnancy are more likely to experience child abuse, poor mental and physical health, lower educational attainment and behavioral problems. Unintended pregnancy also can result in the parents’ inability to achieve educational and career goals, often leading to economic hardship. National research shows 60 percent of community college students who have a child after enrollment fail to complete their education. The good news is that unintended pregnancy is preventable!

For these reasons, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has made unintended pregnancy one of its 10 Winnable Battles to improve public health. Unintended pregnancy is a problem nationally and in Colorado. Almost 4 in 10 pregnancies in Colorado are unplanned. In Colorado it is 18-29 year olds who have the highest number of unintended pregnancies. And for all of the reasons listed above, we know that by addressing this issue, we can improve the lives of Coloradans.

The stigma that surrounds issues of sexual health and well being makes it hard to talk to partners, friends, family and even health care providers. This in turn makes it really difficult for people, young and old, to get the information they need to make the best decisions for their health and relationships. We need to focus on increasing knowledge about effective means for delaying pregnancy a person is ready and how to best plan for a healthy pregnancy once he or she is ready by promoting conversations among all kinds of people to help these be thoughtful, planned decisions.

Beforeplay is a way to help people talk about it – with partners, family, friends and health care providers. Beforeplay can make a difference in the health and lives of young Coloradans simply by helping normalize the conversation around pregnancy, birth control and STDs. For this reason, CDPHE is pleased to collaborate with the Beforeplay campaign to promote the prevention of unintended pregnancy and we encourage young people to talk about their reproductive health choices.