Partner support and pregnancy wantedness

Birth. 2000 Jun;27(2):112-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-536x.2000.00112.x.


Background: Women who experience unwanted pregnancy are at a greater risk of complicated pregnancy outcomes, and their children are more likely to experience physical or psychological problems in infancy, than those women with wanted pregnancies. The objective of this research was to explain the impact of a partner on women's decisions to want or not want their pregnancies.

Methods: A primary study subsample of 349 clinical interviews of pregnant women comprised the quantitative portion of the analysis, with a secondary study subsample of 20 in-depth qualitative interviews of pregnant women complementing the statistical findings. Both samples included adult women (at least age 20 yr) of different ethnic groups who received Medicaid for their pregnancies and were in their first or early second trimester of pregnancy. Chi-square, t tests, and logistic regression were used for statistical analyses.

Results: A partner's stability, status, feelings toward pregnancy, and level of dependability and support all had a significant influence on women's experiences of unwanted pregnancy. Variables including use of contraception (OR = 3.3), women's ethnicity (OR = 1.9), partner's feelings about pregnancy (OR = 2.0), amount of social support (OR = 1.2), and mother's instrumental support (OR = 0.85) all affected women's perceptions of wanting the pregnancy. These results were used to create a model of unwanted pregnancy, beginning before conception and ending with either termination of pregnancy or initiation of prenatal care.

Conclusions: The support and concern of a partner during pregnancy can have positive consequences for a mother's desire to carry out the pregnancy. To increase their commitment to the pregnancy and childbirth, partners should be included more in the prenatal care process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / psychology
  • Adult
  • Alabama
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Marital Status
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy / psychology*
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted / psychology*
  • Prenatal Care
  • Sexual Partners* / psychology
  • Social Support*