Interventions for preventing unintended pregnancies among adolescents
Interventions for preventing unintended pregnancy include any activity (health education or counselling only, health education plus skills-building, health education plus contraception education, contraception education and distribution, faith-based group or individual counselling) designed to: increase adolescents' knowledge and attitudes relating to risk of unintended pregnancies; promote delay in initiation of sexual intercourse; encourage consistent use of birth control methods and reduce unintended pregnancies.
This review included forty one randomized controlled trials comparing the aforementioned interventions to various control groups (mostly usual standard sex education offered by schools). The search for trials was not limited by country, though most of the included trials were conducted in developed countries, it mainly represented the lower socio-economic groups and a few in less developed countries. Interventions were administered in schools, community centres, health care facilities and homes. Meta-analysis was performed for studies where it was possible to extract data.
All interventions including education, contraception education and promotion, and combinations of education and contraception promotion, reduced (at a slightly significant level) unintended pregnancy over the medium term and long term follow up period. Results for behavioural (secondary) outcomes were inconsistent across trials.
Limitations of this review include reliance on program participants to report their behaviours accurately and methodological weaknesses in the trials.
Oringanje, C.; Meremikwu, M.M.; Eko, H.; Esu, E.; Meremikwu, A.; Ehiri, J.E. Interventions for preventing unintended pregnancies among adolescents. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2009) (Issue 4) Art. No.: CD005215. [DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005215]