Partner Congruence on Fertility Intentions and Values: Implications for Birth Outcomes
In this study, using partner data from the U.S. National Survey of Fertility Barriers (NSFB) we examined how couples agreement or disagreement having another child impacted future child birth. Other factors were also examined in this study, such as the importance of their careers, having time for leisure and the value they attributed to being a parent. In our analysis of the data we found that when only one couple wants another child, the odds of having another child in the future is higher than when neither partner desires to have a child in the future. However, if both partners agree that they want a child in the future, the likelihood of having future children is much higher. In couples where neither partner wants a future child, or when the woman places a high importance on career success, that couple is less likely to have future children.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Admission and Maternal Postpartum Depression
The results from this study examined the effects of a newborn’s NICU stay impacted their mother’s postnatal depression. What we found was that depression during pregnancy did not predict whether or not an infant would have a NICU stay. However, having an infant admitted to the NICU does increase the chance for the mother experiencing postpartum depression.
Tough Decisions: Exploring Women’s Decisions Following Unintended Pregnancies
In this qualitative study of women we explored women experiencing unintended pregnancies. Interviews were conducted with women who decided to continue with their pregnancies and also with women who terminated their pregnancies. The findings concluded that the women referenced differences in their ability to access resources, family and social support, the context of their pregnancy situation and their own values and beliefs in their decision to continue or terminate the pregnancy.
Trauma and Early Adolescent Perceptions about Sex and Parenthood: The Mediating Role of Anger Regulation
Anger regulation and the relationship to childhood trauma and an adolescents’ opinions about sex and parenthood were explored in this study of 1,311 7th graders. We found that girls and boys with more trauma exposure were also more likely to think that becoming a teen parent was best for them. Girls who experienced childhood trauma were more likely to report feeling an increased pressure to engage in sex and to have a baby. But, the study also found that the teens’ ability to regulate their anger explained the association between trauma and opinions about sex and teen pregnancy.
Stability and change in personal fertility ideals among U.S. women in heterosexual relationships
This longitudinal study explored how the number of children a woman desires changes over time. For most women, the number of children they wanted did not change. Women who initially reported that they wanted more children were less likely to later report that they wanted fewer children. Women with higher education were less likely to report later that they wanted more children. Also, women who worked full-time were also more likely to report later that they wanted less children.
Spierling, T.N., Ciciolla, L., Tiemeyer, S., & Shreffler, K.M. (Forthcoming). Laying the groundwork for social and emotional development: Prenatal attachment, childbirth experiences, and neonatal attachment. In A. Morris, & A. Williamson (Eds.), Building early social and emotional relationships in infants and toddlers: Integrating research and practice. Springer Publishing.
Early life events, such as those captured by the ACE measures, can have substantial implications for later life health outcomes. We expand the ACEs framework to include a multigenerational focus on adverse birth outcomes. This paper applies a biobehavioral conceptualization to explain how maternal early life adversity shapes attitudes, behaviors, and physiological responses such that adverse birth outcomes are more likely. This should provide a fuller understanding of the causes of differences in pregnancy- and contraception-related attitudes and behaviors as well as highlight the negative physiological impact that early stress can have on birth outcomes.
Although many studies have focused on teen sexual behavior and predictors of teen pregnancy, few have examined potential predictors of teen attitudes toward pregnancy. Using a sample of 416 urban students from the South Central U.S., this study examines the role of childhood adversity on the likelihood of group membership in one of three attitudinal categories toward teen pregnancy (having a baby would make my life worse, better, or would not change it much) using a series of multinomial logistic regressions. Results indicate that childhood adversity significantly increases the odds of believing that having a baby would make life better. Implications for future research and clinical application are discussed.
Spierling, T., & Shreffler, K.M. Does prenatal attachment mediate the relationship between Using multivariate regression analyses with a sample of 133 women surveyed before and after their first birth, this study examined the relationship between multiple dimensions of pregnancy intendedness and postpartum depressive symptoms and examined whether prenatal attachment mediates this relationship. Findings suggest that pregnancy happiness, wantedness, and timing are associated with postpartum depression symptoms, as is prenatal attachment. In the full model, prenatal attachment mediates the associations between pregnancy wantedness and timing and postpartum depression, but not pregnancy happiness.
Shreffler, K.M., Tiemeyer, S., & *Wyatt, T. A mixed methods investigation of adverse birth Adverse birth outcomes are associated with heightened risk for short- and long-term health problems and developmental delay. Infant mortality, very low birth weight (birth weight < 1500 grams), and pre-term birth occur most frequently among births to rural mothers. A variety of demographic, socioeconomic, health care, and cultural characteristics may increase the risk for adverse birth outcomes, and these characteristics vary considerably between urban and rural communities. In this paper, we utilize a unique mixed methods technique, survey-driven narrative construction, in an effort to explore factors that increase risk for or protect against adverse birth outcomes. Specifically, we examine women’s experiences with early life adversity, current sociodemographic circumstances, pregnancy experiences, and birth experiences for women living in rural and urban counties across Oklahoma.
Tiemeyer, S., McQuillan, J., & Shreffler, K.M. Multiple measures of pregnancy intendedness and Multiple studies find evidence of a substantial race/ethnicity and socioeconomic gradient in the proportion of unintended pregnancies and births. Our study uses the recently added variables in the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) measuring the degree that respondents tried and wanted to get pregnant. We consider how socioeconomic class is associated with trying and wanting to get pregnant. The results of our study suggest that age and union status explain most of the social class differences in trying and wanting to get pregnant. Social class modifies the effect of wanting to get pregnant on happiness about pregnancy, respondents whose mothers had the lowest level of education were happier about unwanted pregnancies compared to women whose mothers had at least a high school diploma. Happiness about conception leading to a first birth as an outcome provides insight to the meaning of different measures of pregnancy intendedness.
Shreffler, K.M., Tiemeyer, S., McQuillan, K., & Greil, A.L. Exploring experiences of sterilization among women without children. Paper presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the Population Association of America in Chicago, IL.
In this article, we use data from the National Survey of Fertility Barriers—a national, population-based telephone survey—to examine the reasons for and experiences with sterilization surgeries among women without children. We analyze the small (N = 126) random sample of sterilized women without children using “survey-driven narrative construction,” which entails converting the structured answers and open-ended responses for each respondent into narratives and identifying themes. We focused on the voluntary vs. involuntary nature of both sterilization surgery and childlessness. We found that there is considerable variation in this group. Some women are voluntarily childfree and opted to have sterilization surgery, but most women did not undergo sterilization surgery for contraceptive reasons. Among those who were involuntarily sterilized, there was variation in whether the surgery was a barrier to motherhood. Our results suggest that survey research on childlessness and sterilization should consider these nuances.