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J Reprod Med. 2005 Jun;50(6):389-96.

Intent to become pregnant as a predictor of exposures during pregnancy: is there a relation?

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National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, and Office of Genomics and Disease Prevention, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



To evaluate the relationship between intent to be pregnant and selected maternal exposures during pregnancy.


In 1982-1983, 3,029 women who gave birth to infants without birth defects from 1968-1980 (the control mothers from a large case-control study of birth defects) completed a detailed telephone interview. This analysis examined behaviors reported in the third month of pregnancy because most women would be aware of their pregnancies by the end of the first trimester, and our primary interest was assessing exposures that occurred after pregnancy recognition.


Women who reported unintended pregnancies tended to be younger, nonwhite and less educated, and tended to have higher gravidity than women who reported intended pregnancies. After adjustingfor maternal age, education, race and previous adverse pregnancy outcome, women who reported unintended pregnancies were more likely to report smoking (odds ratio [OR] = 1.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2, 1.7), illicit drug use (OR=3.4, 95% CI 1.9, 6.4), not taking vitamins (OR = 1.4, 95% CI 1.2, 1.7), and alcohol use (OR=1.2, 95% CI 0.99, 1.4) than women who had intended pregnancies. No association was observed between pregnancy intention and medication use.


These results suggest that women who report having unintended pregnancies are more likely to have some exposures that may result in adverse pregnancy outcomes.

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