Skip to content

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Pregnancy Intentions among Pregnant Women Seeking Prenatal Care

This study examined whether adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with increased risk of having an unwanted or mistimed pregnancy. Women in two medical centers within an integrated health system were screened for ACEs during standard prenatal care (N = 745). Multinomial multivariable logistic regression analyses examined the associations of ACEs (count and type) with pregnancy intentions, adjusting for covariates. Overall, 58.3% of pregnant women reported no ACEs, 19.1% reported one ACE, and 22.7% reported two or more ACEs; 76.2% reported wanting to get pregnant, 18.5% reported wanting to get pregnant but not at this time (i.e., mistimed pregnancy), and 5.2% reported not wanting to get pregnant at all (i.e., unwanted pregnancy). Having two or more (vs. 0) ACEs was associated with higher odds of an unwanted pregnancy (odds ratio, 2.60; 95% confidence interval, 1.19-5.68). Further, childhood loss of parent (odds ratio, 2.20; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-4.71) and neglect (odds ratio, 5.67; 95% confidence interval, 1.72-18.72) were each associated with higher odds of an unwanted pregnancy in separate analyses. ACEs count and type were not significantly associated with having a mistimed pregnancy. Among women screened for ACEs during standard prenatal care, ACEs were associated with increased odds of having an unwanted pregnancy, but not a mistimed pregnancy. Additional research is needed to better understand the mechanisms through which ACEs and other individual, social, and contextual factors impact pregnancy intentions to better support women and provide appropriate resources to help prevent unintended pregnancies.

Authors: Young-Wolff, Kelly C; Wei, Julia; Varnado, Nicole; Rios, Normelena; Staunton, Mary; Watson, Carey

Womens Health Issues. 2021 Mar-Apr;31(2):100-106. Epub 2020-10-05.

PubMed abstract

Explore all studies and publications

Back To Top