Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 178–187

Pregnancy Intentions Among Women Who Do Not Try: Focusing on Women Who Are Okay Either Way

  • Julia McQuillan
  • Arthur L. Greil
  • Karina M. Shreffler

DOI: 10.1007/s10995-010-0604-9

Cite this article as:
McQuillan, J., Greil, A.L. & Shreffler, K.M. Matern Child Health J (2011) 15: 178. doi:10.1007/s10995-010-0604-9


Are women who are intentional about pregnancy (trying to or trying not to get pregnant) systematically different from women who are “okay either way” about getting pregnant? We use a currently sexually active subsample (n = 3,771) of the National Survey of Fertility Barriers, a random digit dialing telephone survey of reproductive-aged women (ages 25–45) in the United States. We compare women who are trying to, trying not to, or okay either way about getting pregnant on attitudes, social pressures, life course and status characteristics using bivariate analyses (chi-square tests for categorical and ANOVA tests for continuous variables). Multivariate multinomial logistic regression provides adjusted associations. Most women say that they are trying not to get pregnant (71%) or are okay either way (23%); few are trying to get pregnant. Among women with no prior pregnancies (n = 831), more say that they are trying to get pregnant (14%) but a similar percentage are okay either way (26%). Several characteristics distinguish those trying to from those okay: fertility intentions, importance of motherhood, age, parity, race/ethnicity and self identifying a fertility problem. Additional characteristics are associated with trying not to get pregnant compared to being okay: ideal number of children, wanting a baby, trusting conception, relationship satisfaction, race ethnicity, economic hardship, and attitudes about career success. Women who are “okay either way” about pregnancy should be assessed separately from women who are intentional (trying to, trying not to) about pregnancy.


Pregnancy intentions Pregnancy planning Life course Fertility intentions 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia McQuillan
    • 1
  • Arthur L. Greil
    • 2
  • Karina M. Shreffler
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Alfred UniversityAlfredUSA
  3. 3.Oklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA

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