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Pregnancy outcomes by pregnancy intention in a managed care setting

OBJECTIVES: Published studies show poor pregnancy outcomes associated with unintended pregnancies are disproportionately higher than in planned pregnancies and place a burden on the health care system. This study was designed to compare pregnancy intention rates, compare sociodemographic characteristics of women by pregnancy intention and compare pregnancy outcomes in a managed care setting. METHODS: A large managed health care organization in California conducted a retrospective medical record review of 1,784 women seeking prenatal care in 2002 to learn how women self-reported their pregnancy intention, compare pregnancy intention rates between this health plan to the national data, and to compare antecedents and pregnancy outcomes based on pregnancy intention. RESULTS: Overall, 62.1% of pregnancies were self-reported as intended with 26.4% mistimed and 11.4% unwanted. Being young, single, having lower educational attainment, having other living children, consuming alcohol and being a woman of color were the greatest predictors of having an unintended pregnancy. Despite these predictors, birth outcomes for unintended pregnancies in this setting showed no statistical difference from planned pregnancies. CONCLUSION: Awareness of pregnancy intention of the women who are at greatest risk may be an important contributor to improving birth outcomes and health plan decisions about reproductive care services. Early entry to prenatal care and integrated services that decrease substance abuse and support high-risk pregnancy management are important contributors to reducing poor pregnancy outcomes.

Authors: Postlethwaite D; Armstrong MA; Hung YY; Shaber R

Matern Child Health J. 2010 Mar;14(2):227-34. Epub 2009 Jan 19.

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