Advertisement

Changes in pregnancy desire after a pregnancy scare in a random sample of young adult women in a Michigan county

      Abstract

      Objectives

      We examined whether and how long young women became more or less likely to desire a pregnancy after experiencing a “pregnancy scare.”

      Study Design

      We used data from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) study, based on a random, population-based sample of 992 young women from a county in Michigan. They were interviewed weekly for 2.5 years. We used fixed-effects logistic regression models to predict pregnancy desire after a pregnancy scare.

      Results

      Of the 759 sexually experienced women we analyzed, 103 (14%) experienced 128 pregnancy scares. A woman's (adjusted) odds of desiring a pregnancy were 3.70 (95% CI 2.27–6.02) times higher during the week after, 3.04 (95% CI 2.30–4.10) times higher during the month after a pregnancy scare, and 2.31 (95% CI 1.71–3.11) times higher during all weeks after the pregnancy scare, compared to her other weeks during the study period. In a final model directly comparing each period to all weeks before the pregnancy scare, the odds of pregnancy desire were highest (aOR 5.08, 95% CI 3.06–8.42) during the first week, slightly smaller (aOR 3.01, 95% CI 2.11 – 4.30) during the subsequent three weeks, and remained elevated (aOR 1.58, 95% CI 1.19–2.09) throughout the remainder of the study period.

      Conclusions

      Our analyses suggest that the experience of a pregnancy “scare” does not scare young women away from wanting pregnancies. On the contrary, the state of possibly being pregnant actually made young women in our study more likely to want to be pregnant, on average.

      Implications

      Very few young women desire a pregnancy during the transition to adulthood; however, a salient life event like a pregnancy scare can abruptly generate a desire for pregnancy. Our study contributes to efforts to help women implement their pregnancy desires by furthering our understanding of those desires and the contexts in which they are formed.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Contraception
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Gatny HH
        • Kusunoki Y
        • Barber JS.
        Pregnancy scares and subsequent unintended pregnancy.
        Demogr Res. 2014; 31: 1229-1242
        • Gatny H
        • Kusunoki Y
        • Barber J.
        Pregnancy scares and change in contraceptive use.
        Contraception. 2018; 98: 260-265
        • Aiken ARA
        • Potter JE.
        Are Latina women ambivalent about pregnancies they are trying to prevent? Evidence from the Border Contraceptive Access study.
        Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2013; 45: 196-203
        • Edin K
        • Kefalas MJ.
        Promises I can keep: Why poor women put motherhood before marriage.
        1st edition. University of California Press, Berkeley2005
        • Cowley C
        • Farley T.
        Adolescent girls’ attitudes toward pregnancy: the importance of asking what the boyfriend wants.
        J Fam Pract. 2001; 50: 603-607
        • Mollborn S
        • Domingue BW
        • Boardman JD.
        Norms as group-level constructs: investigating school-level teen pregnancy norms and behaviors.
        Soc Forces. 2014; 93: 241-267
        • Bernardi L
        • Klaerner A.
        Social networks and fertility.
        Demogr Res. 2014; 30: 641-670
        • Rocca CH
        • Hubbard AE
        • Johnson-Hanks J
        • Padian NS
        • Minnis AM.
        Predictive ability and stability of adolescents’ pregnancy intentions in a predominantly Latino community.
        Stud Fam Plann. 2010; 41: 179-192
        • Miller WB
        • Barber JS
        • Schulz P.
        Do perceptions of their partners’ childbearing desires affect young women's pregnancy risk? Further study of ambivalence.
        Popul Stud. 2017; 71: 101-116
        • Zajonc RB.
        Attitudinal effects of mere exposure.
        J Pers Soc Psychol. 1968; 9: 1-27
        • Barber JS
        • Kusunoki Y
        • Gatny HH.
        • Buchanan A
        • Rotkirch A
        Young women's relationships, contraception and unintended pregnancy in the United States.
        Fertil. Rates Popul. Decline No Time Child. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK2013: 121-140
      1. Barber JS, Kusunoki Y, Gatny H. 2019. Relationship dynamics and social life (RDSL) study. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34626.v5.

        • Barber JS
        • Kusunoki Y
        • Gatny H
        • Schulz P.
        Participation in an intensive longitudinal study with weekly web surveys over 2.5 years.
        J Med Internet Res. 2016; 18
        • Miller WB
        • Barber JS
        • Gatny HH.
        The effects of ambivalent fertility desires on pregnancy risk in young women in the USA.
        Popul Stud. 2013; 67: 25-38
        • Weitzman A
        • Barber JS
        • Kusunoki Y
        • England P.
        Desire for and to avoid pregnancy during the transition to adulthood.
        J Marriage Fam. 2017; 79: 1060-1075
        • Barber JS
        • Miller WB
        • Kusunoki Y
        • Hayford SR
        • Guzzo KB.
        Intimate relationship dynamics and changing desire for pregnancy among young women.
        Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2019; 51: 143-152
        • Bearman PS.
        Promising the future: virginity pledges and first intercourse.
        Am J Sociol. 2021; : 55
        • Paik A
        • Sanchagrin KJ
        • Heimer K.
        Broken promises: abstinence pledging and sexual and reproductive health.
        J Marriage Fam. 2016; 78: 546-561
        • Schunck R
        • Perales F.
        Within- and between-cluster effects in generalized linear mixed models: a discussion of approaches and the xthybrid command.
        Stata J Promot Commun Stat Stata. 2017; 17: 89-115
        • Allison PD.
        Fixed effects regression models.
        SAGE Publications, 2009
        • Dieleman JL
        • Templin T.
        Random-effects, fixed-effects and the within-between specification for clustered data in observational health studies: a simulation study.
        PLoS ONE. 2014; 9:e110257
        • Kusunoki Y
        • Barber JS.
        The dynamics of intimate relationships and contraceptive use during emerging adulthood.
        Demography. 2020; 57: 2003-2034
        • Finer LB
        • Zolna MR.
        Declines in unintended pregnancy in the United States, 2008–2011.
        N Engl J Med. 2016; 374: 843-852
        • Schwarz EB
        • Lohr PA
        • Gold MA
        • Gerbert B.
        Prevalence and correlates of ambivalence towards pregnancy among nonpregnant women.
        Contraception. 2007; 75: 305-310
        • Gomez AM
        • Arteaga S
        • Ingraham N
        • Arcara J
        • Villaseñor E.
        It's not planned, but is it okay? The acceptability of unplanned pregnancy among young people.
        Womens Health Issues. 2018; 28: 408-414
        • Gómez AM
        • Arteaga S
        • Villaseñor E
        • Arcara J
        • Freihart B.
        The misclassification of ambivalence in pregnancy intentions: a mixed-methods analysis.
        Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2019; 51: 7-15
        • Jones RK
        • Frohwirth LF
        • Blades NM.
        If I know I am on the pill and I get pregnant, it's an act of God”: women's views on fatalism, agency and pregnancy.
        Contraception. 2016; 93: 551-555
        • Higgins JA
        • Wang Y.
        Which young adults are most likely to use withdrawal? The importance of pregnancy attitudes and sexual pleasure.
        Contraception. 2015; 91: 320-327
        • Yoo SH
        • Guzzo KB
        • Hayford SR.
        Understanding the complexity of ambivalence toward pregnancy: does it predict inconsistent use of contraception?.
        Biodemography Soc Biol. 2014; 60: 49-66
        • Luna Z
        • Luker K.
        Reproductive justice.
        Annu Rev Law Soc Sci. 2013; 9: 327-352
        • Barber J
        • Gatny H.
        The social context of retrospective-prospective changes in pregnancy desire during the transition to adulthood: the role of fathers and intimate relationships.
        Demogr Res. 2021; 44: 899-940
        • Herd P
        • Higgins J
        • Sicinski K
        • Merkurieva I.
        The implications of unintended pregnancies for mental health in later life.
        Am J Public Health. 2016; 106: 421-429
        • Kost K
        • Lindberg L.
        Pregnancy intentions, maternal behaviors, and infant health: investigating relationships with new measures and propensity score analysis.
        Demography. 2015; 52: 83-111