Palestinian women's pregnancy intentions: analysis and critique of the Demographic and Health Survey 2004

Health Policy. 2008 Jan;85(1):83-93. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2007.06.006. Epub 2007 Aug 14.


Objectives: The Palestinian DHS2004 reports on pregnancy intentions and their determinants are analyzed for the first time. Through this analysis, the survey instrument limitations are also highlighted.

Methods: Data on 15-49 years old ever married, non-pregnant women reporting on their last pregnancy were selected from a nationally representative cross sectional survey dataset.

Results: Older women were more likely not to desire the pregnancy at all, and younger women more likely to have desired to wait; with higher reports of not desiring the pregnancy at all or desiring to wait among those with a higher number of children; with higher reports of not desiring the pregnancy at all, or desiring to wait, among women who reported ever using family planning methods. Women who experienced prenatal and postnatal complications reported higher levels of having desired to wait or not having wanted the pregnancy at all, calling for the inclusion of process measures in pregnancy intention studies.

Conclusions: While some of our findings are comparable to those cited in the international literature, the analysis was limited to the type of questions asked in the Palestinian DHS survey. There is a need to further develop the survey instrument in order to address women's needs from a public health policy perspective. We call for the inclusion of additional social measures to identify some of the contextual factors that influence pregnancy intentions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Arabs / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Characteristics / ethnology
  • Family Planning Services*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Israel
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy / ethnology*
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence
  • Women / psychology*