Original research article| Volume 97, ISSUE 4, P303-308, April 2018

Predictors of timing of pregnancy discovery



      Earlier pregnancy discovery is important in the context of prenatal and abortion care. We evaluated characteristics associated with later pregnancy discovery among women seeking abortion care.

      Study design

      Data come from a survey of women seeking abortion care at four family planning facilities in Utah. The participants completed a survey during the state-mandated abortion information visit they are required to complete prior to having an abortion. The outcome in this study was pregnancy discovery before versus after 6 weeks since respondents' last menstrual period (LMP). We used logistic regression to estimate the relationship between sociodemographic and health-related independent variables of interest and pregnancy discovery before versus after 6 weeks.


      Among the 458 women in the sample, 28% discovered their pregnancy later than 6 weeks since LMP. Most (n=366, 80%) knew the exact date of their LMP and a significant minority estimated it (n=92, 20%). Those who estimated the date of their LMP had higher odds of later pregnancy discovery than those who knew the exact date (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.81[1.07–3.07]). Those who used illicit drugs weekly, daily, or almost daily had higher odds of later pregnancy discovery (aOR=6.33[2.44, 16.40]).


      Women who did not track their menstrual periods and those who frequently used drugs had higher odds of discovering their pregnancies later.


      Women who estimated the date of their LMP and who frequently used drugs may benefit from strategies to help them recognize their pregnancies earlier and link them to care when they discover their pregnancies later.


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