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Couple Pregnancy Intentions and Induced Abortions in the United States


Objectives: Approximately half of US pregnancies are unintended and 43% of these end in induced abortions. Male partners and their involvement in reproductive decisions is not well understood. We examined the association between couple pregnancy intentions and induced abortion in US women. Materials and Methods: Data came from the National Survey of Family Growth (2006-2010). Primiparous women who lived with one husband or partner before conception of their first pregnancy were included in the analysis (N=4263). Multiple logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between couple pregnancy intentions and induced abortion of first pregnancy. Results: Approximately 17.1% of women reported discordant intentions and 32.3% reported that pregnancy was unintended by both parents. Among these couples, the women were more likely to be unmarried, minorities, of lower income and education, and 19 years of age or younger at conception than were couples in which both parents intended pregnancy. Compared to couples with a mutually intended pregnancy, those with discordant pregnancy intentions were significantly more likely to have induced abortion, even in women who desired pregnancy. Conclusion: Partners had a vital role in decisions to have an induced abortion. Health providers should consider the interpersonal decision-making process in couples to best prevent induced abortions due to unintended pregnancy. Providers should also be aware of the role of violence on reproductive decisions in couples with discordant pregnancy intentions. Women in healthy relationships can benefit from having frequent conversations about pregnancy with their partners.

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