Prevalence and correlates of ambivalence towards pregnancy among nonpregnant women

Eleanor Schwarz, Patricia A. Lohr, Melanie A. Gold, Barbara Gerbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Background: Ambivalence towards pregnancy is rarely acknowledged in policy discussions. Methods: We surveyed 441 nonpregnant women who consecutively presented to two urgent care clinics in California about their current intentions to conceive using a five-point scale. We examined the association between ambivalence towards pregnancy, sociodemographic characteristics and use of contraception. Results: Almost one third of women (29.0%; 95% CI=25-33%) expressed ambivalence about their intentions to become pregnant. In multivariable modeling, being older than 30, being nonwhite and having a personal or religious objection to abortion were significantly associated with ambivalence towards pregnancy. Compared with women who stated they were trying to avoid pregnancy, women who expressed ambivalence were significantly less likely to have used a barrier or hormonal form of contraception at last intercourse (OR=0.36, 95% CI=0.23-0.57) and more likely to use the natural family planning (NFP) method (OR=3.31, 95% CI=1.39-7.90) or withdrawal (OR=1.61, 95% CI=0.98-2.65). Conclusion: Ambivalence towards pregnancy is common and is associated with use of less effective contraceptive methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-310
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Ambivalence
  • Unintended pregnancy
  • Unplanned pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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