Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp 1820–1827 | Cite as

Assessing Pregnancy Intention and Associated Risks in Pregnant Adolescents



Unintended pregnancy and associated behaviors may play a substantial role in the increased risk of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes associated with teen pregnancy. We evaluate a multi-dimensional measure of pregnancy intention among pregnant adolescents and quantify the association between intention dimensions and adverse outcomes and risk behaviors. Pregnancy intention measures were examined in a cohort of 300 pregnant adolescent women. We considered 18 items assessing elements of pregnancy intention including pregnancy planning, timing, emotional response, and readiness. Latent class analysis was performed to identify dimensions of pregnancy intention. Parsimonious scores were created by minimizing the number of covariates while maintaining substantial agreement with the latent class. Associations between intention measures and prenatal care, risk behaviors, and pregnancy outcomes were quantified using multivariable logistic regression. Two constructs of pregnancy intention were identified: planning and emotional readiness. Compared with emotionally ready adolescents, adolescents categorized as not emotionally ready had an increased odds of inadequate prenatal care (OR = 2.70, 95% CI:1.27–5.72), delayed prenatal care (OR = 2.54, 95% CI:1.27–5.09), and self-reported depression at the time of the first prenatal visit (OR = 2.21, 95% CI:1.03–4.77). Pregnancy planning was not associated with adverse pregnancy risk factors or outcomes. Among pregnant adolescents, emotional readiness for pregnancy and parenting was inversely associated with known risk factors for adverse pregnancy outcomes, suggesting that emotional readiness rather than pregnancy planning may be the more pertinent intention construct for adolescents.


Adolescent Pregnancy in adolescence Pregnancy unplanned Pregnancy unwanted Pregnancy intention 



This study was partially funded through a grant from the Brown University Office of the Vice President of Research and the Rhode Island Foundation.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Community Health and Obstetrics and GynecologyAlpert Medical School of Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Women and Infants HospitalProvidenceUSA

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