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Women's Lives 3 - Family Planning in Women's Lives - Focus: Unintended Pregnancies

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Women's Lives 3 - Family Planning in Women's Lives - Focus: Unintended Pregnancies




Focus: Unintended Pregnancies

Selected results for the states of Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, Lower Saxony and Saxony


Brochure DIN A4. 16 p.


As part of its series of studies about women’s and men’s family planning, the Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung (BZgA) has commissioned, as another milestone, the comprehensive study ‘women’s lives 3 - family planning in women’s lives’. Its focal point is unintended pregnancies and pregnancy conflicts. Following the investigation of unintended pregnancies and pregnancy terminations among minors, this study surveyed 4,002 women between the ages of 20 and 44 by way of a questionnaire; 97 women gave a qualitative interview.
Around one third of all pregnancies in the women’s lives were not planned at the time they occurred. For some of these pregnancies there was a desire for children, but the pregnancy occurred earlier than desired. Others did not want a child. Even though pregnancies at the wrong (too early) time or without a desire for children are by no means rare, there are, in Germany, hardly any current scientific insights into the contributing factors, such as the role of inadequate contraception. There is also not much information about the motivations behind carrying an unintended pregnancy to term or terminating it.

The Statistisches Bundesamt (Federal Statistics Office) can provide reliable data about the development of absolute figures and rates of pregnancy terminations, based on the data from the local registers of inhabitants. The goal of the population survey ‘women’s lives 3’ is not, therefore, to obtain statements about the general prevalence of terminations, especially since we must assume that a certain percentage of terminations would not be mentioned by the participants in such a survey.

Instead, the goal of the study is to obtain insights into the following:

  • in what phases of life and in what living conditions and in what situational conditions children are undesired;
  • what women think about ‘the right time in life to have a child’ and the appropriate family size;
  • why, despite the option of using reliable contraception, a pregnancy could occur, contrary to the women’s personal wishes;
  • how the decision was made regarding whether to keep the baby or to terminate the pregnancy.

The relationship with the partner is taken into account just as professional goals and job training plans are. The study makes it possible to compare women with different educational backgrounds and from different regions (Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, Lower Saxony, Saxony).