New reports found that after 30 years the number of unplanned births in the United States has remained at 40 percent.
Researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics discovered that the unintended birth rate has remained steady since 1982.
Many doctors are not surprised at the findings but do feel a bit discouraged by its unchanging results.
"Trying to prevent unintended births is sort of an increasingly difficult task," said William Mosher, a statistician at NCHS and the study's lead author.
Study authors interviewed over 12,000 women who gave birth between 2006 and 2010. Although they did not find a change in the rate, researchers did see a change in who is giving birth whether it is planned or not.
According to the study, married white women accounted for 66 percent of total births in 1982. Today, the total number of births for that group has dwindled to 43 percent.
The report also found stark differences between the women having unplanned pregnancies:
-About 23 percent of married women experienced unplanned pregnancies in comparison to 50 percent of unmarried women who lived with the child’s father. These numbers are also compared to 67 percent of pregnant women who did not live with the baby’s father.
-An estimated 77 percent of teen pregnancies were unintended when compared to 50 percent of women ages 20 to 24 and 25 percent of women ages 25 to 44.
-About 17 percent of women who experienced unplanned pregnancies had college degrees while 41 percent of women did not have a high school diploma.
-Nearly 57 percent of black women experienced unplanned pregnancies while 43 percent of Hispanic women and 31 percent of White women did.
"These are staggering statistics," said Sheryl Kingsberg, a professor of reproductive biology and psychiatry at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. Here we are with various means of effective birth control at our fingertips, but it's not reaching the population that needs it the most."
Previous studies on unplanned pregnancies found that they are a result of improper use of contraception such as condoms and birth control pills. In some instances, birth control methods were not used at all.
Many doctors attribute unplanned pregnancies in teens and women with lower incomes to a lack of education and awareness on how to use contraception.
"Basically what that suggests is that many women think that because they have not used a method and have not gotten pregnant in two or three or four acts of intercourse that they're sterile. And of course, that's not how it works," he said.
There have been many advances in birth control options such as vaginal rings and implants as opposed to traditional methods like birth control pills. However, many of the new options are more expensive or some women are unaware that they even exist.