The correspondence between intention to avoid childbearing and subsequent fertility: a prospective analysis
Citation: Williams, Lindy, Abm, Joyce, Piccinino, L. J. (1999) The correspondence between intention to avoid childbearing and subsequent fertility: a prospective analysis. Family Planning Perspectives (RSS)
Retrospective studies of pregnancy intendedness have revealed some characteristics that can help identify which women are more likely than others to experience an unintended birth. A comparison of these findings with those from a prospective analysis may shed greater light on the characteristics associated with unintended pregnancy. Data from 1988 NSFG and a telephone reinterview of respondents conducted in 1990 were used in this work. Separate analyses were conducted of women intending to postpone childbearing for at least three years and of women intending to forgo all future childbearing. Logistic regression models were used to identify the effects of social and demographic characteristics, as well as change in marital status and certainty of intentions, on the odds of experiencing a birth in the interval between interviews. The authors find that only 10% of women intending to postpone pregnancy for more than 3 years and 8% of the respondents seeking to forgo future childbearing had a birth in the interval between the interviews (2 years). Low-income women are more likely to experience and unpredicted (unwanted) birth. Race was not significant. Women aged 20-29 were more likely than those aged 30-34 to have an unpredicted birth. Those not using contraception were 2-3 times more likely than women using an effective method to have an unpredicted birth. There are at least two potential explanations for instances where the correlates of unintended births in the prospective analysis differ from those identified in retrospective studies. Certain subgroups of women may be more likely to classify births as wanted when they are asked retrospectively; alternatively, they may be more likely to experience changes in their living conditions that alter their fertility intentions.