(HealthDay News) – Using the withdrawal method for contraception is common and has higher rates of unintended pregnancy and emergency contraception use, according to a study published online Aug. 5 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Annie Dude, MD, PhD, from Duke University in Durham, NC, and colleagues analyzed data from the National Survey of Family Growth (2006–2008) to assess the risk of an unintended pregnancy (over and up to a 47-month retrospective period) among females aged 15–24 years who used withdrawal compared to women who used other methods of contraception exclusively.

The researchers found that 31% of females used withdrawal, 21.4% of whom experienced an unintended pregnancy. Unintended pregnancies occurred in 13.2% of females who used only other contraceptive methods (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.75). Emergency contraception was 7.5% more likely to have been used by withdrawal users (adjusted odds ratio, 1.57). Withdrawal was 14.8% less likely to be used by married females compared to single females (adjusted odds ratio, 0.58).

“Use of withdrawal as contraception is common and might place females at higher risk of unintended pregnancy,” the authors write.

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