Exploring U.S. Men’s Birth Intentions
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While recently there have been renewed interest in women’s childbearing intentions, the authors sought to bring needed research attention to understanding men’s childbearing intentions. Nationally representative data from the 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) was used to examine pregnancy intentions and happiness for all births reported by men in the 5 years preceding the interview. We used bivariate statistical tests of associations between intention status, happiness about the pregnancy, and fathers’ demographic characteristics, including joint race/ethnicity and union status subgroups. Multivariate logistic regressions were used to calculate adjusted odds ratios of a birth being intended, estimated separately by father’s union status at birth. Using comparable data and measures from the male and female NSFG surveys, we tested for gender differences intentions and happiness, and examined the sensitivity of our results to potential underreporting of births by men. Nearly four out of ten of births to men were reported as unintended, with significant variation by men’s demographic traits. Non-marital childbearing was more likely to be intended among Hispanic and black men. Sixty-two percent of births received a 10 on the happiness scale. Happiness about the pregnancy varied significantly by intention status. Men were significantly happier than women about the pregnancies, with no significant difference in intention status. Potential underreporting of births by men had little impact on these patterns. This study brings needed focus to men’s childbearing intentions and improves our understanding of the context of their role as fathers. Men need to be included in strategies to prevent unintended pregnancy.
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