A Couple-Level Approach to Preventing Unintended Pregnancy Among Young Latina Women and their Male Partners

Principal Investigator: Anu Manchikanti Gómez, PhD

Because virtually all unintended pregnancies involve a man and a woman, it is crucial to examine this issue from a couple’s perspective. This study will investigate how pregnancy intentions and relationship factors, such as commitment, trust and intimacy, influence contraceptive use among 18-24-year-old Latina women and their male partners. A better understanding of how pregnancy intentions, cultural factors and relationship factors operate within couples will aid in the development of an intervention to promote contraceptive use.

Study Team Members:

Stephanie Arteaga, Research Assistant

Jennet Arcara, Research Assistant

What We’re Doing:

The is mixed methods research study addresses this gap by: (1) identifying the influences of a couple’s relationship factors on pregnancy intentions; (2) developing a culturally appropriate, couple-level measure of ambivalence towards pregnancy intentions; and (3) testing the association of pregnancy intentions and relationship factors to contraceptive use over time.

Where We Are Now:

Thus far, we have conducted interviews with 42 couples and identified a range of pregnancy intention typologies that move beyond the planned/unplanned, intended/unintended binaries typically presented in literature. One primary goal of the qualitative study was to better understand if, when and why couples were ambivalent about their pregnancy plans. Our preliminary analysis suggests that about half of couples include one partner who was ambivalent based on “incongruent” answers on quantitative measure. However, the qualitative data suggest that ambivalence, as typically conceived of, is not ambivalence at all; rather it is a superficial mechanism for self-protection or a way to give voice to far more complex internal processes. Given the opportunity for deeper reflection and analysis, most participants were clear about their pregnancy intentions. Emergent typologies reflect the competing individual, relational and structural factors that impact individuals’ and couples’ ability to plan and envision families.


This study is made possible by a grant from Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute Of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health, under Award Number K99HD070874. Additional funding was received from the Berkeley Population Center to add young Asian, Black and White women and their male partners to phase 1, a qualitative study that will inform the development of a new measure.