CRVAW Faculty Journal Articles


Maternal Attitude Toward Pregnancy and the Risk of Neonatal Death


OBJECTIVES. Reduced options for fertility control over the pastdecade have increased the rates of unwanted pregnancy. We evaluatedwhether a woman's negative attitude toward her pregnancy increasedthe risk of perinatal mortality, in a large, prospective cohortstudy. METHODS. The association between attitude toward thepregnancy and perinatal mortality was evaluated in a longitudinalcohort study of 8823 married, pregnant patients enrolled from1959 to 1966 in the Child Health and Development Studies. RESULTS.Women who reported during the first trimester of prenatal carethat the pregnancy was unwanted were more than two times morelikely to deliver infants who died within the first 28 daysof life than were women reporting accepted pregnancies. A positiveattitude toward pregnancy was not associated with fetal deathor post-neonatal death. CONCLUSIONS. These data, collected wheninduced abortions were illegal, may have important implicationsfor the 1990s. If maternal attitude toward the pregnancy isassociated with neonatal mortality and abortion laws changesuch that access is restricted, infant mortality may increasebecause a greater proportion of births will be unwanted.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in American Journal of Public Health, v. 84, no. 3, p. 411-414.

Dr. Ann Coker had not been a faculty member of the University of Kentucky at the time of publication.