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P066“Using an adult mindset”: An examination of fertility desires and reproductive planning among low-income black fathers

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      Objectives

      To quantitatively examine the relationship between Black fathers’ fertility desires and pregnancy prevention strategies, and qualitatively explore the nuances of this relationship.

      Methods

      We used a concurrent mixed-methods approach to survey 36 and interview 13 Black fathers from low-income backgrounds, who were participating in a community-based fatherhood program in a Midwestern urban area. Fathers in this study were ≥18 years old with at least one child. We compared differences between groups using Fisher's Exact tests and thematic analyses to examine the relationship between participants’ fertility desires and reproductive planning practices.

      Results

      Participants’ median age was 33 and 72% were non-residential biological parents. About 40% of men desired a pregnancy and 69% reported they or their partner always used contraception. In bivariate analysis, participants’ fertility desires were not associated with pregnancy prevention (p=0.251). Although most interview participants desired pregnancies, several factors contributed to their ability to plan for a pregnancy. Men felt that using contraception to prevent pregnancies was dependent on navigating trust with a partner. Health before a pregnancy and financial stability were also important. Overall, participants thought that using an adult mindset, in which they considered the consequences of unprotected sex, was key to family planning.

      Conclusions

      Black fathers may not desire a pregnancy and consider a variety of factors, but this does not always result in active pregnancy prevention/contraceptive use. Community-based organizations already working with Black fathers can be leveraged to increase reproductive health awareness and facilitate reproductive planning for fathers.
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