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Womens Health Issues. 2008 Sep-Oct;18(5):351-9. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2008.02.009. Epub 2008 May 15.

Family planning and life planning reproductive intentions among individuals seeking reproductive health care.

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Bixby Center for Reproductive Health Research and Policy, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94110, USA.



Little research has focused on men and women's reproductive intentions before pregnancy and their perceived personal and social motivations to prevent an unintended pregnancy.


To assess the reproductive intentions of low-income men and women in California, we asked individuals seeking reproductive health services about their plans for childbearing, including an ideal timeframe and perceived advantages of delay. We also asked about their health care visit to examine how contraceptive use and services relate to reproductive intentions.


The majority (77%) of the 1,409 reproductive health clients surveyed wanted to have a/another child, but hoped to delay childbearing by an average of 5.4 years. The most common reasons for wanting to delay pregnancy were related to finances (24%) or education (19%), with differences by race/ethnicity and gender. We did not observe a clear relationship between the length of time the client wanted to delay pregnancy and the type of contraceptive method dispensed during the clinic visit.


Individuals seeking reproductive health care perceive many personal benefits to planning and timing their pregnancies, and most will need many years of contraceptive protection to achieve their reproductive goals. Providers should work with their patients to ensure that they receive a contraceptive method that is consistent with the length of pregnancy prevention they desire.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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