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Fam Plann Perspect. 1998 Mar-Apr;30(2):79-88.

Predicting maternal behaviors during pregnancy: does intention status matter?

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  • 1Alan Guttmacher Institute, New York, USA.



Women's behavior during pregnancy, which can affect the health of their infant, may be influenced by their attitude toward the pregnancy.


Multivariate analyses of data from the 1988 National Maternal and Infant Health Survey and the 1988 National Survey of Family Growth were conducted to investigate whether women with unplanned births differ from other women in their pregnancy behavior, independent of their social and demographic characteristics.


Women with intended conceptions are more likely than similar women with unintended pregnancies to recognize early signs of pregnancy and to seek out early prenatal care, and somewhat more likely to quit smoking, but they are not more likely than women with comparable social and demographic characteristics to adhere to a recommended schedule of prenatal visits once they begin care, to reduce alcohol intake, or to follow their clinician's advice about taking vitamins and gaining weight. Social and demographic differences in these behaviors are largely unaffected by planning status, indicating that these differences are independently related to pregnancy behaviors.


Both the intendedness of a pregnancy and the mother's social and demographic characteristics are important predictors of pregnancy-related behavior.

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