New research indicates that unintended pregnancy is much more likely in women with than without disabilities. Research in the general population indicates that outcomes for both mother and child are better in intended pregnancies, and that may be especially true for those with disabilities, who may have complex medical situations and require additional care.
The objective of the study, which appeared in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, was to examine associations between the presence and type of disability and pregnancy intention. The authors hypothesized that a higher proportion of pregnancies would be unintended among women with disabilities than women without disabilities.
Cross-sectional analyses of data from the 2011-2013 and 2013-2015 waves of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) were performed. The authors classified pregnancies that were unwanted or mistimed as unintended; all other pregnancies were categorized as intended. Disability status and type was originally categorized into six groups: hearing disability, vision disability, cognitive disability, mobility disability, self-care disability, and independent living disability. Although, women with self-care disability represented only 1% of the sample, 80% of them also had mobility disability. To account for this, the authors combined the two categories to create a “physical disability” variable. Covariates for the study included age, race or ethnicity, partner status at the time of conception, education, income, and parity.