Of the 213 million pregnancies that occurred worldwide in 2012, 40%—about 85 million—were unintended.

A recent study, “Intended and Unintended Pregnancies Worldwide in 2012 and Recent Trends,” by Gilda Sedgh et al. of the Guttmacher Institute found that the proportion of pregnancies that are unintended varied considerably by region.

The highest proportions were in Latin America and the Caribbean (56%) and North America (51%), and the lowest were in Africa (35%), Oceania (37%) and Asia (38%); Europe’s proportion was the closest to the global average (45%).

One of the key recommendations of the study is increased support for contraceptive services worldwide.

These findings have important implications for those interested in preventing alcohol-exposed pregnancies. While most FASD prevention efforts focus on preventing alcohol use during pregnancy, preventing pregnancy while using alcohol is an equally important approach.

For more on this issue, including a brief review of evidence, practice suggestions for health care providers, and resources, visit the Alcohol, Contraception, and Preconception section of the Coalescing on Women and Substance Use website.

Also, see earlier posts: