Open Access Open Badges Research article

A blind area of family planning services in China: unintended pregnancy among unmarried graduate students

Yuanzhong Zhou1, Chengliang Xiong2*, Jinwen Xiong3, Xuejun Shang4, Guohui Liu5, Meimei Zhang6 and Pin Yin7

Author affiliations

1 School of public health, Zunyi medical college, Dalian Road 201, Zunyi 563000, China

2 Institute of Family Planning, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Hangkong Road 13, Wuhan 430030, China

3 Department of O&G, Hubei Provincial Corps Hospital, Chinese People′s Armed Police Forces, Minzhu Road 475, Wuhan 430061, China

4 Department of Andrology, Nanjing General Hospital of Nanjing Military Region, Zhongshan East Road 305, Nanjing 210002, China

5 Institute for Population and Family Planning of Chongqing City, Honghuang Road 18, Chongqing 400020, China

6 Sexual Health Education Research Center, Capital Normal University, You An Men Xitoutiao 10, Beijing 100069, China

7 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Hangkong Road 13, Wuhan 400030, China

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:198  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-198

Published: 6 March 2013



Status of premarital sex, unintended pregnancy and associated factors among Chinese graduate students remain unclear. And unmarried graduate students’ needs of family planning services seem to be ignored. In the present study, we ascertained the prevalence rate of premarital sex and unintended pregnancy, as well as estimated the possible factors associated with unintended pregnancy among unmarried Chinese graduate students, and evaluated their reproductive health needs.


We obtained the representative sample of graduate students using a multistage, stratified, cluster design, and collected data using a questionnaire.


We obtained 11936 responders. Premarital sexual intercourse was acknowledged by 24.2% of responders; unintended pregnancy was acknowledged by 4.8% of responders (19.8% of students active in premarital sex); and abortion was acknowledged by 4.6% of responders (96.7% of pregnant students). In multivariate analysis, the identified risk factors for unintended pregnancy among both genders that were active in premarital sex were: (1) having no steady lover [for males: odds ratio (OR), 1.96, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.41-2.70; for females: OR, 2.65; 95%CI, 1.56-4.84]; (2) younger age at the first sexual intercourse (for males: OR, 1.62, 95% CI, 1.22-2.15; for females: OR, 2.57; 95% CI, 1.64-4.02); (3) lack of condom use at the first sex (for males: OR, 1.13, 95% CI, 1.09-1.37; for females: OR, 2.81; 95% CI, 1.81-4.39); (4) unaware of the conditions of conception (for males: OR, 1.69, 95% CI, 1.31-2.19; for females: OR, 1.75; 95% CI, 1.16-2.65); and (5) unaware that abortion endangers women's future pregnancy (for males: OR, 2.98, 95% CI, 2.15-4.14; for females: OR, 2.34; 95% CI, 1.23-4.46). Medical graduates were not less likely to have unintended pregnancy than nonmedical graduates for both genders.


The avoidable risk of being unintended pregnancy among graduate students in China indicates that an urgent need to take action on how to delay the age of first sex, promote condom use at first sex, and acquire accurate contraceptive information, as well as improve skills to use reliable contraception among graduate students.

Education; Graduate; Contraception; Unplanned pregnancy; Universities; Family planning services; China