Understanding pregnancy in a population of inner-city women in New Orleans--results of qualitative research.

Department of International Health and Development, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 1440 Canal Street, Suite 2200, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.
Social Science [?] Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.56). 02/2005; 60(2):297-311. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.05.007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Unintended pregnancy has conventionally been defined as a pregnancy that is mistimed or unwanted, and this classification has been widely used in survey research. This study explores the utility of these constructs for women who visited a family planning clinic and a prenatal clinic in inner-city New Orleans, LA, and, by extension, for women of similar background and experience. We used semi-structured, open-ended research to explore sexual debut and history, contraceptive knowledge and use, pregnancy history, partner relations, and service use among 77 women (73 of whom were African-American). This study addresses the apparent paradox of high-risk sexual and contraceptive behavior in the presence of expressed preferences to postpone childbearing. It provides some insight into the cultural and social context in which these events and decisions take place and explores the multiple dimensions that shape women's sexual behaviors and their desires for pregnancy. The dimensions explored include perceptions of and experiences with sex/sexuality, values concerning childbearing/motherhood, relationships with partners, experiences with contraception, and attitudes toward abortion. The apparent ambivalence seen in reports of women asked whether a pregnancy was intended, such as statements that they did not want to get pregnant but were either not using contraception or using it irregularly, calls into question the idea that intendedness can be routinely and easily inferred from survey research. Correspondingly, it is not possible to simply assume that either intentionality or future intentions directly affect decisions to use contraception. The problem is that the many factors-structural and individual-affect women's preferences and ability to postpone a pregnancy or to use contraception.

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    ABSTRACT: The premise that unintended childbearing has significant negative effects on the behavior of mothers and on the health of infants strongly influences public health policy and much of current research on reproductive behaviors. Yet, the evidence base presents mixed findings. Using data from the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth, we employ a measure of pregnancy intentions that incorporates the extent of mistiming, as well as the desire scale developed by Santelli et al. (Studies in Family Planning, 40, 87–100, 2009). Second, we examine variation in the characteristics of mothers within intention status groups. Third, we account for the association of mothers’ background characteristics with their pregnancy intentions and with the outcomes by employing propensity score weighting. We find that weighting eliminated statistical significance of many observed associations of intention status with maternal behaviors and birth outcomes, but not all. Mistimed and unwanted births were still less likely to be recognized early in pregnancy than intended ones. Fewer unwanted births received early prenatal care or were breast-fed, and unwanted births were also more likely than intended births to be of low birth weight. Relative to births at the highest level of the desire scale, all other births were significantly less likely to be recognized early in pregnancy and to receive early prenatal care.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To describe the rate of contraceptive use and types of contraception used by low-income women.DesignA descriptive study was used to survey women about their contraceptive use and sexual behaviors 12 months prior to the time of the interview.Participants and SettingA convenience sample of 110 low-income women living in three urban medically underserved neighborhoods who enrolled in a larger study was included.Methods Univariate and bivariate descriptive analyses were conducted using STATA 10.ResultsForty-eight (43.6%) of the women were African American, 43 (39.1%) were Hispanic, and 17 (15.5%) were White. The women were age 18 to 55 years (Mean = 31 years). Forty percent of these women who were not pregnant or planning to get pregnant had sex without contraceptives in the past 12 months. The percentage of women who used contraception decreased from 77.3% users in the last 12 months to 63.6% current users. The most common methods used within the last 12 months were condom use by male partner (28.2%), birth control pills (14.6%), contraceptive injection (12.7%), intrauterine device (10.9%), and the patch (1.8%).Conclusions Many of the low-income women from medically underserved neighborhoods did not use contraceptives and of those who used contraceptives, the majority used the least effective methods.
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