Unintended First Pregnancies: The Experiences of Low-Income Latinas in El Paso, Texas

Kristine Hopkins, University of Texas at Austin
Deva Cats-Baril, University of Texas at Austin

This study uses in-depth interviews to explore the contraceptive experiences of low-income Latinas and their experiences of unintended pregnancy. We analyze women's experiences with contraceptive use before the first pregnancy, and what contraceptives, if any, they used after the first pregnancy ended. Nearly three-quarters of the 29 first pregnancies in this sample were unintended; women became pregnant for the most part while not using any contraception. All of the unintended pregnancies were to women 23 years old or younger, though three teenagers did have an intended pregnancy. Many women reported barriers to using contraception, like lack of information, fear of being found out by parents, or fear of medical procedures. Contraceptive use increased after the first pregnancy, showing that childbirth allows women access to medical services and information as well as breaks down other barriers such as fears of discovery of being sexually active and/or using contraception.

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Presented in Session 99: Mexican Youth in Mexico and the U.S.