Scant research has examined latent and contextual dimensions of pregnancy intentions, conventionally classifying unintended pregnancies as mistimed (wanted later) or unwanted (not wanted at all). Being at risk of mistimed pregnancy likely encompasses a broad spectrum of emotions and expectations regarding pregnancy and merits further exploration.
Using a national sample from GfK’s online KnowledgePanel of women aged 15–39 considered at risk of mistimed pregnancy in 2017 (n = 1278), we conducted a latent class analysis to assess underlying patterns of current pregnancy orientation using three items: pregnancy desire, pregnancy acceptability, and expected pregnancy resolution. As class structure varied by relationship status (serious or not), we stratified analyses by relationship status.
Among women in serious relationships, three classes emerged: “No,” “Slightly okay,” and “Acceptable.” For those not in serious relationships, there were two classes: “Strong no” and “Ambiguous.” Overall, the classes indicate varied patterns of wantedness, acceptability, and anticipated resolution to potential pregnancy.
This analysis reinforces that the construct of mistimed pregnancy is too restrictive to reflect the inherent diversity of prospective pregnancy orientation. The combination of relationship type as a grouping variable for stratified analyses, financial hardships’ impact, and the overall effect of increasing age on increasing interest in pregnancy suggest the importance of locating pregnancy intentions within the broader reproductive life course. Scholars, clinicians, and public health programs should allow for multidimensionality of pregnancy perspectives, locate them within the broader life course, and acknowledge the potential impacts of stratified relationship formation on eventual pregnancy intentions.