The Couple Context of Unintended Pregnancy: The Effect of Parental Disagreement on Birth Outcomes in the United States 2006-2010

Laura Kelly, University of Pennsylvania

Pregnancy intention associates strongly with prenatal behaviors and consequently birth outcomes. The role of couple agreement is largely ignored in pregnancy intention literature, with marital status approximating the couple context. However, union formation and fertility are drastically changing in the American family, with more couples childbearing out of wedlock. This paper utilizes detailed couple pregnancy intentions from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth to evaluate consequences of differential parental pregnancy intent on the birth outcomes of pregnancy loss and low birth weight. We further evaluate the relevance of marital status in this relationship. Preliminary results suggest couple pregnancy intentions associate significantly with pregnancy loss, with the lack of maternal intent increasing the risk of pregnancy loss in cases of parental discordance and when neither parent intends. This association is stronger for married couples and null for unmarried couples, suggesting that partnership stability may moderate the effect of couple intentions.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility Intentions and Behavior