Gransnet forums


Unwanted pregnancies - why so many?

(57 Posts)
granjura Mon 04-Aug-14 11:42:34

In my grand-mas day, and my mum's, until the late 50s- it happened all the time. But why do I hear of so many unwanted pregancies now? There are so many different means of contraception, which are very effective- and the after-pill too. So yes, it can still happen- a contraceptive can fail, and rape does happen- extreme and very rare occurrences in the 'First' world - so why?

Anniebach Mon 04-Aug-14 12:55:57

Because we now have abortion on demand but never speak of it as such

granjura Mon 04-Aug-14 13:57:02

Thanks Annie- actually this is not what I was asking about- but about the very many who do choose to go on and have the baby, but say it was a mistake (in the current case, her words were 'shit happens' which I find sad).

grannyactivist Mon 04-Aug-14 14:11:39

I really don't know the answer to this granjura except that perhaps some people are not honest with themselves maybe or are ambivalent about parenthood. An American research survey (Guttmacher Institute) found a strong sense of fatalism and ambivalence among young unmarried women. They found that 44 percent of women surveyed agree or strongly agree with the statement, "It doesn't matter whether you use birth control or not; when it is your time to get pregnant it will happen." Furthermore, among those who reported that it is important for them to avoid pregnancy right now, almost a third say that they would be pleased if they found out today that they were pregnant.

Elegran Mon 04-Aug-14 14:27:18

I suspect there is a very strong drive in young women to get pregnant, whether they are aware of it or not. "Failed" contraception can happen because subconsciously they don't really want it to succeed. Logic about the reality of the possible problems doesn't come into the equation.

Mishap Mon 04-Aug-14 14:30:36

I would guess that two things are operating:

- being a Mum gives status to girls who have lost out in the education system.

- some young girls drift into sex in a romantic haze, and using contraception is just a bit too calculated and implies intention.

Elegran Mon 04-Aug-14 14:40:31

When I was young the girls I knew who got pregnant were not the ones who were at it hammer and tongs, they were the idealistic ones who were taken by surprise at how enthusiastic they were for the physical side of love, as opposed to the romantic haze.

suebailey1 Mon 04-Aug-14 14:51:40

I understand from my friend who is a Director Of public Health that the latest research links high 'unplanned pregnancy rates to low aspirations in young women and feelings of hopelessness in times of low economic growth and poor job prospects although teenage pregnancy rates are dropping. It is however a personal mystery to me as in my youth all we wanted was not to get pregnant.

gillybob Mon 04-Aug-14 15:03:45

I agree with you there Elegran when I had my son at 18, I was probably one of the only girls in my class who was not using birth control. Not because I was careless but because I wouldn't have had a clue how to get it. My GP at the time was a family doctor and I just know he would have told my parents. Also I would have been terrified to even approach him to ask for it. He would have looked down his half glasses at me as though I was some kind of trollop. I was the only girl among my friends who's parents sent a letter to the school refusing for me to see a sex education film. I was completely clueless.

petra Mon 04-Aug-14 15:19:09

I have to ask the question,gillybob. When you were 17+ did you not know how babies were made. Just curios.

Tegan Mon 04-Aug-14 15:40:57

It was more luck than judgement that stopped me becoming pregnant in my teens, so much so that I assumed, when I was older and wanted to start a family, that I wouldn't be able to. One thing does stick in my mind though, an entry in my diary when I was concerned that my luck had ran out which said 'am I pregnant; do I want to be?' Given that, until modern times, women would have expected to have had several babies by the time they were twenty there must be a very strong biological [albeit subconsious] urge to concieve when quite young [by todays standards, that is].

granjura Mon 04-Aug-14 16:02:36

Not talking about then- but about now. Every one has access to sex ed and advice re contraception- no-one is clueless (mind you, how can you be clueless if you are having sex, really? ;) )

Elegran Mon 04-Aug-14 16:06:40

Human nature and hormones don't change though, granjura. There is still a strong biological urge to reproduce, even when the conscious mind knows it would not be a good idea.

numberplease Mon 04-Aug-14 16:09:21

Petra, in reference to your question to Gillybob, I was 19, nearly 20, when I got pregnant for the first time, and no, I didn`t know till then just how babies were made, I thought you could get pregnant by kissing! And, shocking though it may sound, I only found out how babies were actually BORN, a few weeks before I had eldest daughter. I lived with my grandma, who flatly refused to discuss such things, and all that was covered in biology at school was what happened with frogs!

Riverwalk Mon 04-Aug-14 16:21:50

Elegran I think it's the strong biological urge to have sex that's at the root of it! smile

As an aside, last week I overheard a smartly-dressed, well-spoken 20-something ask for the morning-after pill at the pharmacy .... it costs £25.

number shock

Nonu Mon 04-Aug-14 16:23:37

I emember when I was attending ante-natal classes and being shown a film of a baby being born.Nearly died of shock TBH, know it seems strange , but that is perfectly true!

Riverwalk Mon 04-Aug-14 16:25:51

Nonu grin

Tegan Mon 04-Aug-14 16:48:23

The biological urge to have sex gets a lot stronger at certain times of the month, though [or, at least it did....]

granjura Mon 04-Aug-14 16:50:49

I realise that often happen then for the older ones among us. But in the 60s we all knew what's what and what to do, no? And I lived in a rural area of Switzerland... not London.

I was terrified of going to the GP, my parents' friend, with one of my mum's best friend as receptionist- but even at 16 I knew that if I was sexually active- it was my responsibility to ensure I didn't get pregnant until I and partner were ready. Not saying this to boast- but that just the way it was for me, and my partner. The GP was wonderful- and gave me the pill. He shook my hand and said how pleased he was I took responsibility, as he was fed up with organising abortions or adoptions.

But, as said, talking about NOW- as all youngsters know how and what's what.

I'd say £25 is very cheap, really- and there must be birth control clinics that charge less. I do wonder what the possible effects could be on girls/women who use a post sex pill on the regular basis??

HildaW Mon 04-Aug-14 16:54:41

I'm probably a bit old fashioned.....though I had my day and can distinctly remember praying nightly on a few occasions that I was not 'in trouble'. However, my mad passionate stages were always with someone pretty special (at the time) and not that dreadful thing nowadays called recreational sex. I worry that there is a whole generation, or at least a sturdy chunk of it that have, through peer pressure and modern media influences, grown up as seeing sex as something akin to a hobby or a the ending of a good night out.

granjura Mon 04-Aug-14 17:01:51

Indeed Hilda- so sad really. I am very lucky to be able to say I only had sex with very special people in loving relationships, even though i started quite young (but took responsibility so was not too young I suppose). No regrets- whatsoever.

granjura Mon 04-Aug-14 17:35:41

btw I really don't think that makes you 'old-fashioned- at all.

petra Mon 04-Aug-14 20:33:04

Numberplease. That must have been terrifying. I can't imagine what was going through your head. No surprises for me when I got older. I was about 13 when a friend told me what happens in the sex act.
And I was 14 when my Mums water broke while we were all watching the telly. LOL. If the ambulance had been a bit longer coming I think I would have helped deliver my Brother ( with my Mums help, of course)

Eloethan Tue 05-Aug-14 00:33:02

I have no strong views about "casual sex" provided both parties respect and like each other, are not bowing to peer pressure and take steps to avoid unwanted pregnancies/sexually transmitted infections. Equally, I see nothing wrong with people who prefer to be in more committed relationships - or wish to be married - before embarking on sex.

thatbags Tue 05-Aug-14 08:03:44

When you say "so many", you do realise teenage pregnancies in developed countries have been falling steadily, if slowly, for some time now? So long that continues we're on the right track.

The US is a special case, "case" being the operative word.