185204 Pregnancy intendedness and decision-making among young Latinas: Findings from a qualitative study

Monday, October 27, 2008: 3:30 PM

Sarah L. Schwartz, MPH , Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Lauren Ralph, MPH , Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
M. Antonia Biggs, PhD , Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Abigail Arons , Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Claire Brindis, DrPH , Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
The Latina teen birth rate is the highest of any major racial/ethnic group in the US, more than double the national average. In California, 72% of all teen births in 2005 were to Latinas. As a result, the negative personal and economic consequences of teen parenthood continue to disproportionately impact Latino families. The current study employed a qualitative approach to examine factors influencing pregnancy decisions, including the decision to continue an unintended pregnancy, among young Latinas, relative to their peers who delayed childbearing until adulthood. We explored pregnancy intentions, attitudes towards contraception, childbearing and fertility, and partner and peer influences on childbearing in interviews with 65 low-income, pregnant Latina teens and adults, half of whom were immigrants to the US. Results revealed that nearly half of teens were trying to conceive, or expressed ambivalence towards childbearing, and thus did not use birth control consistently. Others chose to continue an unintended pregnancy due to a desire to assert independence or the feeling that they needed to take responsibility for their actions. Male partners played a prominent role in childbearing decisions, in particular for immigrant women. Many respondents noted that the stability of their relationship implied that it was the appropriate time for a child, regardless of how childbearing might interfere with other goals. Finally, concerns about infertility and the side effects of hormonal methods of contraception were widespread and directly influenced behaviors. The results of this study are useful to practitioners who seek a deeper understanding of teens' family planning decisions.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe young Latinas’ attitudes towards the timing and wantedness of their current pregnancy, including differences based on age and nativity 2. Identify key factors that influence Latinas’ decisions regarding contraception, pregnancy and childbearing 3. Discuss ways that health providers and policymakers can play a role in decreasing pregnancy rates among young Latinas in the US

Keywords: Latinos, Teen Pregnancy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, with multiple years experience working on the evaluation of teen pregnancy prevention and family planning programs. I have experience in both quantitative and qualitative methods, and was involved in all aspects of data analysis for the study presented in this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.