200413 A qualitative investigation of women's choices about pregnancy

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:10 AM

Joseph B. Stanford, MD, MSPH , Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
M. Jann DeWitt, PhD , Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Penny Jameson, PhD , Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Mary Bishop Stone, ABD , Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT
Background: About half of pregnancies in the United States are unintended, but fewer are unwanted. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate concepts of intendedness of pregnancy and their social context, and the relevance these may have for women's choices to keep a baby, terminate a pregnancy, or adopt out a baby. Methods: We conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews with 33 women receiving prenatal care with intent to keep the baby, 19 women obtaining an abortion, and 15 women planning to adopt out the baby. Results: The women's ages ranged from 18 to 35 years, and 81% were white, non-Hispanic. Planning and wanting were distinctly different dimensions of pregnancy intendedness. Key components of planning were life preparation (including educational, financial, and emotional issues), sexual behavior, beliefs about susceptibility to pregnancy, and procreative intentions. Planning was related to proactivity, relationships, sexual attitudes, and attitudes about the male role. Key components of wanting were desire for pregnancy over lifetime and desire at specific time points prior to and following conception. Wanting was strongly related to partner, family, and other relationships; and also to personal beliefs and values about pregnancy and parenting. The decisions resulting in pregnancy about the pregnancy were driven by wanting rather than planning and were made in a context of pregnancy either stabilizing or destabilizing a woman's life. Discussion: The desire for pregnancy at the time is most relevant to a woman's choices about the pregnancy, and is influenced by many personal and social factors.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, the participant will be able to 1)describe the limited predictive value of the standard measure of pregnancy intendedness for women’s choices about the pregnancy; 2)discuss key factors influencing the decisions of women to keep, abort, or adopt out.

Keywords: Pregnancy, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Joseph Stanford, M.D., M.S.P.H. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Utah. Dr. Stanford has extensive experience as principal investigator on studies in reproductive epidemiology and fertility.
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.