Desire to Get Pregnant, Desire to Avoid Pregnancy, and Consistency between Them during the Transition to Adulthood

Abigail Weitzman, New York University (NYU)
Jennifer S. Barber, University of Michigan
Paula S. England, New York University (NYU)

Unintended pregnancies disproportionately occur among young women, yet little is known about the predictors of pregnancy desire among this group. Moreover, existing research on pregnancy intentions relies heavily on one-dimensional measures of intent that are collected retrospectively or infrequently. We use a comprehensive baseline survey along with weekly reports of relationship status and fertility desires to answer the question, which unmarried 18-19 year-old women want to get pregnant? In addressing this question, we assess the extent to which teenage respondents desire a pregnancy, want to avoid pregnancy, and report desire and avoidance desires that are consistent with one another. The results indicate that women who received public assistance, are in an intimate relationship, or who are depressed are most likely to express desire for a pregnancy. Women who are religious, enrolled in post-secondary school, or working at a career-related job are likely to express strong desires to avoid pregnancy.

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Presented in Session 183: Fertility Intentions and Influences Upon