Are Attitudes about the Importance of Planning Pregnancies Related to Pregnancy Intentions?

Arthur Greil, Alfred University
Julia McQuillan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Karina Shrefffler, Oklahoma State University
Kathleen Slauson-Blevins, Old Dominion University
Stacy Tiemeyer, Oklahoma State University

Unintended pregnancies are associated with negative outcomes for both mothers and children. While research has documented a variety of risk factors for unintended pregnancy, , little is known about whether pregnancy intentions are related to whether or not one believes that it is important to make childbearing plans or to act in accordance with them. To discover whether woman’s beliefs about pregnancy planning are associated with pregnancy intentions expressed at the time of the pregnancy, we studied all women (N=409) from the two-wave National survey of Fertility Barriers (NSFB) who said they intended another child and reported at least one pregnancy between waves. To evaluate the relationship between importance of planning pregnancies, measured at Wave1, and the intention status of the first pregnancy between waves, we employed multinomial logistic regression. The dependent variable was the three-category pregnancy intentions measure, classified in terms of three “trying to become pregnant,” “trying not to become pregnant,” and “okay either way.” “Trying not to become pregnant” was treated as the reference category. The focal independent variable was importance of planning, with women strongly agreeing, agreeing, disagreeing, or strongly disagreeing with the statement: “It is important to plan my pregnancies.” We treated importance of planning was treated as a categorical variable, with “strongly agree” treated as the reference category. Control variables included strength of fertility intentions; parity, age, union status, race, and education were included as control variables. Compared to women who strongly agreed that it is important to plan pregnancies, women who disagreed that it was important to plan pregnancies had higher odds of reporting that they were “okay either way” rather than trying to become pregnant at the time of their first pregnancy after Wave 1. Thus, attitudes toward the importance of planning pregnancies appear to affect fertility behavior and outcomes.

Presented in Poster Session 1