Contemporary Patterns of Unintended Pregnancy Resolution in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Heini E. Vaisanen , University of Southampton
Ewa Batyra, University of Pennsylvania

Around 40% of pregnancies worldwide are unintended and a half of those are terminated. Few international comparisons of unintended pregnancy (UIP) resolution (choosing birth or abortion) exist. We analysed parous women in Demographic and Health Surveys from 12 countries using logistic regression. We show family composition (number and gender of children), fertility desires (difference between ‘ideal’ and actual family size), contraceptive use before pregnancy, and time since last birth were associated with the likelihood of experiencing an UIP; and choosing unintended birth or abortion. The situations in which a pregnancy is unintended often differ from situations in which an unintended pregnancy is aborted reflecting differences in pregnancy and fertility management. While the results signal a preference for having children of both genders and for spacing pregnancies, the characteristics associated with UIP and particularly abortion varied by context. The results reflect determinants of abortion and UIP, but also patterns of underreporting.

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 Presented in Session 228. Fertility Intentions: Causes and Consequences