Happiness About Unintended Pregnancy And Its Relationship to Contraceptive Desires Among a Predominantly Latina Cohort

Abigail R.A. Aiken, University of Texas at Austin

First published online:

| DOI: https://doi.org/10.1363/47e2215
Abstract / Summary

Women frequently profess happiness about unintended pregnancies; such incongruence is associated with use of less effective contraceptive methods and inconsistent or incorrect method use. Yet, the methods women use may differ from those they desire.


Data on 578 women were drawn from a prospective survey of postpartum women aged 18–44 recruited from three hospitals in Texas between 2012 and 2014. Jonckheere-Terpstra tests were used to compare women's feelings about a future pregnancy with their childbearing intentions. Fisher-Freeman-Halton tests compared distributions of contraceptive methods currently used and desired by women who professed happiness about a future unintended pregnancy, as well as distributions of desired methods by women's reported feelings.


The proportion of women who reported happiness about a future pregnancy was 59% among those intending to wait two or three years for another child, 46% among those intending to wait four or more years, and 36% among those intending to have no more children. Among women who professed happiness, a greater proportion desired to use a highly effective contraceptive method than were currently using one (72% vs. 15% among those intending no more children; 55% vs. 23% among those intending to wait at least four years; and 36% vs. 10% among those intending to wait two or three years). Across intention categories, the types of methods desired did not differ by whether women professed happiness or unhappiness.


Women who profess happiness about a future unintended pregnancy may nonetheless desire highly effective contraceptive methods.

Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2015, 47(2):TK, doi:10.1363/47e22015

Author's Affiliations

Abigail R.A. Aiken is postdoctoral research associate, Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ.


The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Guttmacher Institute.