Pregnancy Intentions before and after Pregnancy: Do Young Women Change Their Minds?

Jennifer S. Barber, University of Michigan
Heather Gatny, University of Michigan

A better understanding of pregnancy desires is fundamentally important for understanding and reducing unintended pregnancy (e.g., see Morgan et al. 2008; Seltzer et al. 2005). An important critique of our state-of-the-art measures of whether a pregnancy was intended (or desired) focuses on their reliability — whether women can accurately report their pregnancy desire retrospectively. But, in addition to problems with retrospection, there are reasons to expect that desires for pregnancy may actually change. Overall, in nearly a quarter (55 out of 233) of the pregnancies reported in the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life study, respondents' assessments changed between the period just before they reported a pregnancy to just after they reported the pregnancy. This paper investigates these changes by examining their association with sociodemographic characteristics, the nature of the partnership that produced the pregnancy, and women's perceptions of her partner's desire for her to become pregnant.

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Presented in Session 82: Fertility Intentions: Measurement and Meaning