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Consequences for Infants of Parental Disagreement in Pregnancy Intention

Sanders Korenman, Robert Kaestner and Ted Joyce
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Vol. 34, No. 4 (Jul. - Aug., 2002), pp. 198-205
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/3097730
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3097730
Page Count: 8
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Consequences for Infants of Parental Disagreement in Pregnancy Intention
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Abstract

CONTEXT: Despite the well-established literature on couples' pregnancy intentions and on the consequences of unintended pregnancy, the effects of parents' disagreement in fertility intentions has not been explored. Parental disagreement in pregnancy intention, as well as a father's pregnancy intention, may affect infant health. METHODS: Logistic regression analyses using 1979-1992 data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth assess effects of unintendedness and parents' disagreement on outcomes related to infants' health and development. Analyses are conducted separately for married and unmarried women; for women of each marital status, one set of analyses includes extensive controls for socioeconomic background, and a second compares effects of intended and unintended pregnancies within the same family. RESULTS: Infants whose conception was intended by their mother but not their father are at elevated risk of adverse health events. When a pregnancy was not intended by the mother, risks are higher than they are if both parents intended the pregnancy, but they differ little according to father's intention. Thus, it may be useful to classify pregnancies as intended by both parents or not intended by at least one. In comparisons of siblings, unintended fertility (so defined) is associated with delayed prenatal care and reduced initiation of breastfeeding. CONCLUSION: Information on both parents' fertility intentions is needed to identify infants at risk of adverse health and developmental outcomes.

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