Unintended pregnancy among rural women in Bangladesh

Document Type

Article (peer-reviewed)

Publication Date



Unintended pregnancies are associated with unsafe abortion and greater risk of maternal morbidity and maternal deaths. In Bangladesh, approximately one-third of pregnancies are unintended. Considering the magnitude of the situation and its consequences, this article explores factors associated with the prevalence of unintended pregnancies in rural Bangladesh with implications for policy intervention. A total of 3,300 women were interviewed from 22 sub-districts to collect information on unintended pregnancy related issues. Findings reveal that about 29% of the pregnancies were unintended and the frequency of unintended pregnancy was higher among the older, less educated, higher parity, and poor women. Findings also suggest that unintended pregnancy rate was higher (33%) among women who used contraceptive before their last pregnancy than women (23%) who did not use any contraceptive. The rate of unintended pregnancy also varied, by the types of contraceptive methods used before their last pregnancy. The women who were using traditional methods or temporary modern methods were more likely to experience unintended pregnancy than longer acting method users. The findings underscore the importance of measuring contraceptive discontinuation rates in addition to prevalence of all modern methods. When discussing policy interventions to generate demand for family planning, consideration of differences in method-specific discontinuation rates is important if policy objectives to reduce unintended pregnancies are to be achieved.