Causes of unplanned pregnancy

It happens: 

Unplanned pregnancy does happen and it is not just because you’re young or a teenager. 

There are about 200 000 unplanned pregnancies in Australia each year.

The World Health Organisation estimates that even if every couple used contraception perfectly every single time they had sex, there would still be six million unplanned pregnancies each year worldwide. [1]


How it happens:

Pregnancy may occur when a man and women have sex without using contraception or when they have contraception failure ( like when a condom splits or a pill is forgotten or taken late). Sperm from the man is then able to fertilise an egg inside the woman by joing with it after sex and the fertilised egg will then implant itself in the uterine wall.


Why it happens:

  • The use of alcohol/drugs can affect decision making when having sex
  • No use of contraception
  • Unable to negotiate safe sex – those awkward conversations that really must happen
  • Contraception failure – for example the condom broke
  • Not knowing enough about contraception
  • Being geographically isolated – not being able to access contraception
  • Being too embarrassed to access contraception
  • The cost of contraception
  • Experiencing sexual assault – a person has sex with another person without their consent
  • Religious beliefs – for example not believing in contraception

This list is not a list of excuses. This is a list of the reasons. They are barriers that get in the way of having safe sex and all can be overcome. If you want to have sex and any of these barriers exist for you, talk with someone you trust like a friend, a parent, a school nurse or a doctor.


[1] 1. Safe Abortion: Technical and Policy Guidance for Health Systems World Health Organisation, Geneva 2003 p12. Available online at Accessed 21 April 2010.

Last edited on: 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017