Are Celebrities Forgetting About Birth Control?

Latest Hollywood pregnancies may be happy accidents

Whereas 2008 seemed to be the year of baby-faced celebrities having babies of their own -- think Jamie Lynn Spears and Bristol Palin -- 2011 may be shaping up to be the year of happy accidents for several 30-something stars.

Many couples’ announcements, like that of Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied, come at the same time as -- or on the heels of -- engagement news, which makes us wonder if a few of these happy affairs were unplanned. Other expecting couples are still -- pardon the pun -- in the infancy of their relationships. Kate Hudson and Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, for instance, have only been together for nine months -- which, we admit, is sort of a long time in Hollywood. (I, for one, think we should start tracking celebrities’ relationships in dog years, but that’s another story).

A lot of it comes down to what kind of birth control you use. Birth control patches, injections and IUDs have less than a one percent failure rate. Condoms fail 14 percent of the time, and the withdrawal method is almost as effective, believe it or not, with a 19 percent failure rate, according to the American Pregnancy Association. The pill has about a 5 percent failure rate when taken correctly, but if you miss pills, that number can rise.

However, just because a baby wasn’t planned doesn’t mean it was necessarily a mistake. Whereas many teen moms have said that their birth control failed them, older moms-to-be aren’t necessarily using any. In fact, a recent sex survey from the University of Indiana found that adults over the age of 40 have the lowest rates of condom use. In a “let’s let fate decide” move, Khloe Kardashian and hubby Lamar Odom confessed last year that they had stopped using birth control just to see what happens. Fast-forward to a few days ago, where tabloids have started speculating that the youngest Kardashian sister might be pregnant.

For those of us who do wait until we have all of our ducks in a row -- whatever that means -- there’s then the risk of being too old to have kids. Last year, a scary CNN report reminded us that, even though women in their 60s are still getting knocked up, our chances of a healthy pregnancy drop precipitously after the age of 35 -- if we can even manage to get our eggs properly inseminated. My own gynecologist told me last year, six months before my wedding, that if I intended to have children, I’d better get on it. I am, after all, the ripe old age of 36. That’s the same age, by the way, of Jewel, who also just announced that she and husband Ty Murray have a baby on the way. They have been trying to get pregnant for two years.

With warnings like these, why should we be surprised to see a spate of women getting pregnant just as soon as they can? Not to be a downer here, but when your chances of staying married are 50-50 (and even less in La-la-land), is there really any reason to wait until you have a ring on your finger? I’d love to see a study that analyzes how shotgun marriages among 30-somethings hold up to the more traditionally planned ones. If living together before marriage increases your risk of getting a divorce, having a baby before you’re wed is probably not likely to offer any protective benefits.

Either way, having children out of wedlock is hardly scandalous in this day and age. It’s been 20 years since Dan Quayle demonized the fictitious Murphy Brown for having a baby as a single mom. And if anyone is in the financial position to have a baby as a single parent, it’s Hollywood’s rich and famous. Then again, when was raising a healthy and happy child just about money?

What’s your take on the spate of Hollywood pregnancies? Chime in below!

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