Is Pregnancy Fatalism Normal? An Attitudinal Assessment Among Women Trying to Get Pregnant and Those Not Using Contraception

Rachel K. Jones, Guttmacher Institute

First published on Contraception:

| DOI:
Abstract / Summary

To assess factors associated with pregnancy fatalism among U.S. adult women.

Study design

I used data from the Change and Consistency in Contraceptive Use study, which collected information from a national sample of 4634 U.S. women aged 18–39 at baseline (59% response rate). I assessed pregnancy fatalism based on agreement with the statement: “It doesn't matter whether I use birth control, when it is my time to get pregnant, it will happen.” I compare fatalism among all respondents to fatalism among respondents who were trying to get pregnant and those who did not want to get pregnant but were not using contraception. I used logistic regression to assess associations between nonuse of contraception and pregnancy fatalism at baseline and whether respondents were trying to get pregnant six months later.


Overall, 36% of the sample expressed some degree of pregnancy fatalism, and proportions were higher for respondents trying to get pregnant (55%) and those not using contraception (57%). The association between pregnancy fatalism and trying to get pregnant was maintained after controlling for other characteristics (OR 1.4, p=.01), as was the association for nonuse of contraception (OR 2.08, p<.001). Contraceptive nonusers at baseline were more likely than users to be trying to get pregnant six months later, especially if they expressed a fatalistic outlook at baseline.


Pregnancy fatalism may be a common outlook among women who are trying to get pregnant. Associations between fatalism and nonuse of contraception may be more complex than previously recognized.


Gaining a better understanding of the dynamics of pregnancy planning might inform our understanding of why some women do not use contraception.


United States