Unintended pregnancy and associated maternal preconception, prenatal and postpartum behaviors

Contraception. 2009 Mar;79(3):194-8. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2008.09.009. Epub 2008 Oct 30.


Background: This study was conducted to determine the relationship between unintended pregnancy and maternal behaviors before, during and after pregnancy.

Study design: Data were analyzed from a stratified random sample of 9048 mothers who delivered live born infants between 2001 and 2006 and completed the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) survey 2 to 9 months after delivery. Binary and ordinal logistic regression methods with appropriate survey weights were used to control for socio-demographic factors.

Results: Compared to women with intended pregnancies, mothers with unwanted pregnancies were more likely to consume less than the recommended amount of preconception folic acid [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 2.39, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.7-3.2], smoke prenatally (OR 2.03, 95% CI 1.5-2.9), smoke postpartum (OR 1.86, 95% CI 1.35-2.55) and report postpartum depression (OR 1.98, 95% CI 1.48-2.64); they were less likely to initiate prenatal care during the first trimester (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.3-0.5) and breastfeed for 8 or more weeks (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.57-0.97). Compared to women with intended pregnancies, women with mistimed pregnancies were also more likely to consume inadequate folic acid, delay prenatal care and report postpartum depression.

Conclusion: Even after controlling for multiple socio-demographic factors, unwanted and mistimed pregnancies were associated with unhealthy perinatal behaviors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Maternal Behavior / psychology*
  • Maternal Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Perinatal Care
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned / psychology*
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted / psychology*
  • Prenatal Care
  • Random Allocation
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult