Counseling often inadequate for women with unintended pregnancies

Women with unintended pregnancies often get inadequate counseling from their doctors about their options for either continuing their pregnancies or terminating them, according to a study by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Women and Health Initiative (W&HI) and colleagues.

The study was published online and appears in the July-August 2017 issue of Family Medicine.

Researchers surveyed 3,000 primary care practitioners on how they counsel women with unintended pregnancies. Only 26% of doctors reported routinely discussing options with these patients, compared to 60% who regularly discuss prenatal care.

Lead author of the study was Kelsey Holt, SD ’17, now a postdoctoral research fellow with the W&HI. Senior author was Ana Langer, professor of the practice of public health and head of the W&HI. Other Harvard Chan authors included Elizabeth Janiak, SD ’16; Marie McCormick, Sumner and Esther Feldberg Professor of Maternal and Child Health; Ellice Lieberman, professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Jacquelyn Caglia, W&HI associate director. Sandhya Kajeepeta, MS ’15, was also a co-author.