Barriers to Managing Fertility: Findings From the Understanding Fertility Management in Contemporary Australia Facebook Discussion Group
OBJECTIVE To assess middle-aged Australian women's retrospective reports of how intended and wanted were their pregnancies, and the degree of happiness associated with these pregnancies. METHODS A self-administered questionnaire was sent to 1000 participants in the Mid-Age cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. RESULTS Responses from 811 women (81%) showed that, although 32% of first pregnancies were unplanned and 29% were unwanted, most women recall being happy with their pregnancies and termination rates were very low. The second pregnancy was the most planned and wanted and associated with the highest levels of happiness. CONCLUSIONS While the majority of middle-aged women report having been happy to be pregnant, and the majority of pregnancies are described retrospectively as planned and wanted, a significant proportion of pregnancies are unwanted, unplanned or resulting from unintended contraceptive failure. IMPLICATIONS The data support the continuing need for widely available, affordable and sensitive fertility control services.