Social support reduces the risk of unintended pregnancy in a low-income population

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Almost half of all pregnancies (45%) in the United States (US) are unintended, with the highest concentration in women with low incomes. Targeted research is warranted to identify risk and protective factors that influence pregnancy intention to improve maternal/child health. Purpose: To identify individual and interpersonal level associations to pregnancy intention to use as leverage points to build resilience. Method: A cross-sectional, secondary analysis of Medicaid eligible pregnant women in Kentucky (n = 309). Results: Sixty-two percent reported their current pregnancy was unintended. Older age, partnered, negative drug screen, and increased social support were associated with decreased odds of unintended pregnancy. For every 1 unit increase of belonging and tangible social support, women were 13% and 14% (respectively) less likely to have an unintended pregnancy (OR = 0.87, 95% CI = 0.78–0.97, p =.011, OR = 0.86, 95% CI = 0.77–0.95, p =.005). A positive drug screen was associated with an almost three-fold increase in the odds of unintended pregnancy (OR = 2.88, 95% CI = 1.49–5.58, p =.002). Conclusion:. Public health nurses can play a critical role in reducing unintended pregnancy rates by promoting social support, inclusion, and acceptance. There remains a critical need to identify barriers and facilitators to pregnancy planning for persons who use illicit drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-809
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • cross-sectional studies
  • maternal–child health
  • pregnancy
  • quantitative research
  • reproductive health
  • social support
  • substance use
  • vulnerable populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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