Variation in Pregnancy Intendedness Across U.S. Women’s Pregnancies

Karina M. Shreffler, Arthur L. Greil, Katherine Stamps Mitchell, Julia McQuillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


How stable are women’s pregnancy intentions across their reproductive lifespans? Are there demographic, social, or attitudinal characteristics that are associated with differing pregnancy intentions patterns? Patterns of intendedness across pregnancies were examined using a sample of 3,110 women ages 25–45 who have been pregnant at least twice from the National Survey of Fertility Barriers. Multinomial logistic regression analyses assessed associations between patterns of intentions and respondents’ economic/social status, values and ideologies to determine if intentions are a stable characteristic or pregnancy-specific. The majority of women (60 %) reported varying intendedness across individual pregnancies, indicating that intendedness tends to be pregnancy-specific. Sociodemographic status as well as values and ideologies were significantly associated with pregnancy intendedness patterns. Compared to women who intended each pregnancy, women who were ambivalent, did not intend each pregnancy, or had intermittent intendedness were more likely to be single, younger, Black, report lower importance of motherhood and religiosity and were less likely to be Hispanic. A substantial proportion of women report the intendedness of their pregnancies varied between pregnancies. Research and policy addressing unintended pregnancies should consider that pregnancy intentions are not a static characteristic of most women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)932-938
Number of pages7
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Fertility intentions
  • Life course
  • Pregnancy intention
  • Pregnancy planning
  • Reproductive career

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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