Subjective meanings of ‘unintended’ pregnancies

Interviews from understanding fertility management in contemporary Australia

Maggie Kirkman, Claire Stubber, Heather Rowe, Sara Holton, Christine Bayly, Lynne Jordan, John McBain, Kathleen McNamee, Vikki Sinnott, Jane Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Unintended pregnancy can be difficult to identify and conceptualise. We aimed to understand how unintended pregnancies are constructed, explained, and situated in a reproductive life. Forty-one women and 7 men aged 20-50 years were interviewed in depth. Transcripts were analysed using iterative hermeneutic techniques informed by narrative theory. Of 34 participants who had been pregnant or a partner in pregnancy, 12 women and one man described 23 ‘unintended’ pregnancies, about half of which ended in abortion. Their accounts reveal that an unintended pregnancy is identified subjectively, that the same pregnancy may be identified by one partner in the pregnancy as unintended and by the other as intended, and that a researcher’s ‘objective’ assessment of an unintended pregnancy may be inconsistent with the assessment of the woman who experienced it. A pejorative discourse was evident, predominantly among participants who did not report having an unintended pregnancy: women use an ‘unintended’ pregnancy to entrap men. Accounts from five participants reporting an unintended pregnancy were selected for illustration. An appreciation of the role such a pregnancy might play in an individual life requires a nuanced understanding of the complexity of human experience and a resistance to simple binary categorisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179 - 193
Number of pages15
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Unintended pregnancy
  • Fertility management
  • In-depth interviews
  • Australia

Cite this

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Subjective meanings of ‘unintended’ pregnancies : Interviews from understanding fertility management in contemporary Australia. / Kirkman, Maggie; Stubber, Claire; Rowe, Heather; Holton, Sara; Bayly, Christine; Jordan, Lynne; McBain, John; McNamee, Kathleen; Sinnott, Vikki; Fisher, Jane.

In: Culture, Health and Sexuality, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2017, p. 179 - 193.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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