Racial/Ethnic Differences in Relationships Between Pregnancy Intentions and Maternal Outcomes by Nicholas Mark (2024)

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Maternal and Child Health Journal


Unplanned or unwanted pregnancies and births are linked to adverse maternal outcomes, but the extent to which such relationships hold for all racial/ethnic groups remains unknown. In this paper, I use large-scale data to estimate unadjusted and inverse propensity weighted associations between a five-level measure of pregnancy intention and six indicators of maternal well-being among separate samples of white, Black, and Hispanic mothers. I find substantial racial/ethnic variation. White and Hispanic mothers who reported that their pregnancies were mistimed, unwanted, or that they were unsure how they felt were significantly more likely to experience adverse outcomes than same-race/ethnicity mothers who reported that their pregnancy was intended, but the pattern was much more tenuous for Black mothers. After adjusting for potential confounding variables, relationships between pregnancy intentions and adverse outcomes remain substantial only for white and Hispanic mothers.