Prevalence and correlates of ambivalence towards pregnancy among nonpregnant women

Contraception. 2007 Apr;75(4):305-10. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2006.12.002. Epub 2007 Feb 16.


Background: Ambivalence towards pregnancy is rarely acknowledged in policy discussions.

Methods: We surveyed 441 nonpregnant women who consecutively presented to two urgent care clinics in California about their current intentions to conceive using a five-point scale. We examined the association between ambivalence towards pregnancy, sociodemographic characteristics and use of contraception.

Results: Almost one third of women (29.0%; 95% CI=25-33%) expressed ambivalence about their intentions to become pregnant. In multivariable modeling, being older than 30, being nonwhite and having a personal or religious objection to abortion were significantly associated with ambivalence towards pregnancy. Compared with women who stated they were trying to avoid pregnancy, women who expressed ambivalence were significantly less likely to have used a barrier or hormonal form of contraception at last intercourse (OR=0.36, 95% CI=0.23-0.57) and more likely to use the natural family planning (NFP) method (OR=3.31, 95% CI=1.39-7.90) or withdrawal (OR=1.61, 95% CI=0.98-2.65).

Conclusion: Ambivalence towards pregnancy is common and is associated with use of less effective contraceptive methods.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraceptive Agents
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproductive Behavior / psychology*


  • Contraceptive Agents