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Pregnancy Intention Screening: Family Planning for Social Change

Last updated: Nov. 12, 2020

“Would you like to become pregnant in the next year?”

It’s a simple question that when addressed with thoughtful consideration for each patient of childbearing age, can change the world. Being able to choose the most effective and appropriate contraception is a powerful gift to each individual patient and family. And offering each and every patient this option can broadly impact societal problems, such as poverty and mental illness.

In Washington State, approximately 35% of pregnancies are unintended, and these account for a disproportionate amount of high-risk pregnancies. Individuals experiencing an unintended pregnancy are more likely to experience complications, depression, intimate partner violence and unstable family relationships. Children who are the result of an unintended pregnancy are more prone to mental illness and incomplete primary education, thus increasing their risk of poverty. 

Every health care professional has a responsibility to help individuals achieve their goals for their families, whether growing them with healthy babies by choosing healthy birth spacing or choosing pregnancy avoidance. Using the Pregnancy Intention Screening Question approach noted above helps families meet their goals and impact overall societal health.

Here in Washington, Upstream USA partners with health centers to provide patient-centered training and technical assistance. A main component of this work is integrating the Pregnancy Intention Screening Question approach, allowing health centers to consistently engage with patients about their reproductive health goals and pregnancy intentions at each visit. Upstream currently partners with a diverse set of agencies across Washington. To learn more about partnership opportunities, contact Bre Laughery, State Director of Partnerships, at or 206-915-1257.

For more information about UnitedHealthcare’s Healthy First Steps program and family planning services, contact our Maternal Health Program Coordinator at 800-224-6597.