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Am J Public Health. 2006 Nov;96(11):2009-15. Epub 2006 Oct 3.

An exploration of the dimensions of pregnancy intentions among women choosing to terminate pregnancy or to initiate prenatal care in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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  • 1Applied Sciences Branch, Division of Reproductive Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga, USA. js2637@columbia.edu



We examined pregnancy decisionmaking among women seeking abortion or prenatal care.


Conventional measures of pregnancy intentions were compared with newer measures in 1017 women seeking abortion. A reduced sample of abortion patients (142 African American women from New Orleans) was compared with 464 similar women entering prenatal care.


Virtually all abortion patients reported the pregnancy as unintended; two thirds of prenatal patients reported the pregnancy as unintended. Reasons for seeking abortion related to life circumstances, including cost, readiness, not wanting any more children, marital status, relationship stability, and being too young. Abortion patients were more likely to report trying hard to avoid a pregnancy and not being in a relationship. They were less likely to report that their partner wanted a baby (odds ratio=0.10) or that they wanted a baby with their partner (odds ratio=0.13) than prenatal patients.


Traditional measures of pregnancy intentions did not readily predict a woman's choice to continue or abort the pregnancy. Relationship with male partners, desire for a baby with the partner, and life circumstances were critical dimensions in pregnancy decisionmaking.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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