Semin Reprod Med 2022; 40(05/06): 229-234
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1760118
Review Article

Measures of Pregnancy Intention: Why Use Them and What Do They Tell Us?

1   Faculty of Medicine and Health, Central Clinical School, The University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
2   Department of Reproductive Health, UCL EGA Institute for Women's Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom
2   Department of Reproductive Health, UCL EGA Institute for Women's Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom
Kirsten I. Black
1   Faculty of Medicine and Health, Central Clinical School, The University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
› Author Affiliations


Understanding pregnancy intention is an important public health measure that captures the ability of individuals to access information, resources, and services needed to plan the timing and spacing of pregnancies. Pregnancy intention is a complex construct impacted by social, emotional, financial, cultural, and contextual factors. In this review, we will examine the range of available tools for individuals and populations to evaluate pregnancy intention, the timing of the tools in relation to pregnancy, their interpretation, and use for policy and practice. Traditionally, pregnancy intention was only assessed in population health surveys; however, more sophisticated tools and measures have been developed. These tools can be used at several time points: before pregnancy, during pregnancy, or after the pregnancy has ended. It is important to appreciate the varied contexts globally for women and their partners when assessing pregnancy intention, and the ability of a given tool to capture this when used retrospectively or prospectively. These tools can inform targeted delivery of services for a person or couple before, during, and after pregnancy. This knowledge can inform strategies at an individual, community, and population level as an indicator of access to sexual and reproductive health information and knowledge and uptake of preconception health.

Authors' Statement of Contribution

The authors certify that:

1. All information is truthful and as complete as possible.

2. All authors have participated in planning of the project.

3. All authors have been responsible for the writing of the manuscript.

4. Research was conducted in accordance with the ethical and research arrangements of the organizational institutions involved.

Competing Interests

We declare no financial or other support, or any financial or professional relationships which may pose a competing interest.

Publication History

Article published online:
06 February 2023

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