Contraceptives And Birth Control

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Contraceptives or birth control are methods that prevent unplanned pregnancies but are also used promote family planning, reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and treat cosmetic and gynecological conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent, about 45% of all pregnancies in 2011 were unplanned in the United States, which was a 51% decline since 2008.1 Of those about 50% resulted without birth control use and the other half reported using a method of birth control. In addition, of the 45% of unplanned pregnancies, higher rates are seen in adolescents and ethnic minorities, which leads to an increase risk for poor maternal and infant outcomes and an increase in abortions across the globe.2 According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 16 million births to mothers aged 15-19 years old were reported in 2008.3 This represented 11% of births worldwide and of these births 95% were in developing countries.3 The 2014 World Health Statistics reported that the average global birth rate for 15-19 year old girls is 4.9%, where the rates are the highest in sub-Saharan Africa.4 Although there is no universal trend toward early initiation of sexual activity, the higher rate of pregnancies seen in teens, adolescents, and ethnic minorities can be related to cultural influences, gender and social norms, lack of sexual and primary education, improper use of contraceptives, and/or the restricted access of reproductive health-care services.3

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