Barber, Jennifer, Abigail Weitzman, Paul Schulz, Yasamin Kusunoki, and Warren B. Miller. 2020. "The Evolution of Young Women’s Pregnancy Desire during the Transition to Adulthood."
Recent research suggests that young women’s desire for pregnancy changes during the transition to adulthood but information on what this evolution looks like, or how it varies across class and demographic background, remains sparse. In this study, we use prospective desire for pregnancy collected among a panel of 883 young adult women over the course of two years to describe how women’s desire for pregnancy evolves between the ages of 19 and 21. Specifically, we use latent class analysis to identify patterns in the evolution of pregnancy desire, and multivariable regressions to describe the demographic characteristics of the women in the latent groups. In addition, we examine how undesired and desired pregnancies occur in relation to these patterns of pregnancy desire. We found six common patterns, including a large group (62%) who never had any desire for pregnancy during these ages. Only 12% of the women in this consistently zero desire group had an undesired pregnancy; a much larger proportion of women whose desire fluctuated had an undesired pregnancy. Socioeconomic status, race, and reproductive/sexual history are strong predictors of how young women’s pregnancy desire evolves during the transition to adulthood.