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You are here: Home / MPRC People / Monica Caudillo, Ph.D. / Monica Caudillo Publications / Intentionally or Ambivalently Risking a Short Interpregnancy Interval: Reproductive-Readiness Factors in Women’s Postpartum Non-Use of Contraception

Michael S Rendall, Eowna Y Harrison, and Monica L Caudillo (In press)

Intentionally or Ambivalently Risking a Short Interpregnancy Interval: Reproductive-Readiness Factors in Women’s Postpartum Non-Use of Contraception

Demography.

A focus of research on short interpregnancy intervals (IPI) has been on young disadvantaged women whose births are likely to be unintended. Later initiation of family formation in the United States and other high-income countries points to the need to also consider a woman’s attributes indicative of readiness for purposefully accelerated family formation achieved through short IPIs. We test for whether factors indicating “reproductive readiness”—including being married, being older, and having just had a first birth or a birth later than desired—predict a woman’s non-use of contraception in the postpartum months. We also test for whether this contraceptive non-use results explicitly from wanting to become pregnant again. The data come from the 2012–2015 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, representing women who recently gave birth in any of 35 U.S. states and New York City (N = 120,111). We find that these reproductive-readiness factors are highly predictive of women’s postpartum non-use of contraception because of a stated desire to become pregnant and are moderately predictive of contraceptive non-use without an explicit pregnancy intention. We conclude that planning for, or ambivalently risking, a short IPI is a frequent family-formation strategy for women whose family formation has been delayed. This is likely to become increasingly common as family formation in the United States is initiated later in the reproductive life course.

Women, Women's Health, Interpregnancy, Rendall, Pregnancy, Caudillo, Health, Health in Social Context
First published online: February 24th, 2020

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