Live Births Resulting from Unintended Pregnancies: An Evaluation of Synthetic State-Based Estimates

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ObjectivesMost states lack information on the proportion of live births resulting from unintended pregnancies. We evaluated a potential solution to the lack of data, a synthetic state-based estimate of the percentage of live births resulting from unintended pregnancies for the state of Georgia.MethodsWe constructed the synthetic estimate by standardizing the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth data by the race, marital status, and age distribution of Georgia residents ages 15–44 years who delivered a live birth during 1990–1994. Two surveys conducted in Georgia during the same period that collected information on unintended pregnancies were used for comparison: the Georgia Women's Health Survey (GWHS) and the Georgia Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS).ResultsThe synthetic estimate (35.2%, 95% CI = 33.5%–36.7%) was not statistically different from the GWHS estimate (39.6%, 95% CI = 35.7%–43.5%), but was significantly lower than the Georgia PRAMS estimate (49.0%, 95% CI = 45.5%–52.5%). When we stratified by race, marital status, and age, the synthetic and GWHS estimates were statistically similar except for married females and females ages 25–34 years, for whom the synthetic estimates were lower. For all groups of females, the synthetic estimates were statistically lower than the Georgia PRAMS estimates.ConclusionsThe synthetic estimate can be a useful method for states that need to know the overall magnitude of the percentage of live births resulting from unintended pregnancy for purposes such as program planning.

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