Unmet need of family planning

In developing countries about half of sexually active women of reproductive age, or 818 million women, want to avoid pregnancy, meaning that they do not want to become pregnant for at least two years or want to stop childbearing altogether. About 17 percent of those women, or 140 million, are not using any method of family planning, while 9 percent, or 75 million, are using less-effective traditional methods. Together, these 215 million women are said to have an unmet need for modern contraception.1

Women have various reasons for not wanting to become pregnant. Some want to delay their first birth; they want to have a child at some point in their lives, but not yet. Some women already have one or more children and want another child, but they want to wait at least a few more years because they prefer to space their births. Other women either do not want to have any children or have had all the children they want; researchers call this a need to limit births. This is important because certain contraceptive methods may better suit the needs of women who want to delay or space births, while others are better for women who want to stop childbearing altogether.