Skip to main content
Pregnancy intentionality in relation to non-planning impulsivity
Senior Scholars Program
  • Prachi Godiwala, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Bradley M. Appelhans, Rush University Medical Center
  • Tiffany A. Moore Simas, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Rui Sherry Xiao, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Kathryn E. Liziewski, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Sherry L. Pagoto, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Molly E. Waring, University of Massachusetts Medical School
UMMS Affiliation
School of Medicine; Senior Scholars Program; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Division of Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine
Faculty Advisor
Molly E. Waring, PhD
Document Type
BACKGROUND: Half of US pregnancies are unintended. Understanding risk factors is important for reducing unintended pregnancy rates. AIM: We examined a novel risk factor for unintended pregnancies, impulsivity. We hypothesized that non-planning impulsivity, but not motor or attentional impulsivity, would be related to pregnancy intention. METHODS: Pregnant women (N = 116) completed self-report measures during their second or third trimester. Impulsivity was measured using the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-15); subscales measured motor, attentional and non-planning impulsivity (subscale range: 5-20). On each subscale, high impulsivity was indicated by a score of ≥11. Pregnancy intention was assessed by asking women whether they were trying to become pregnant at the time of conception (yes or no). Crude and multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models estimated the cross-sectional association between impulsivity and unplanned pregnancy. RESULTS: Thirty-four percent of women reported that their current pregnancy was unplanned, and 32% had high non-planning impulsivity. Fifty-one percent of women with high non-planning impulsivity reported an unplanned pregnancy versus 25% of women with low impulsivity. Women with high non-planning impulsivity had 3.53 times the odds of unplanned pregnancy compared to women with low non-planning impulsivity (adjusted OR =3.53, 95% CI: 1.23-10.14). Neither motor (adjusted OR =0.55, 95% CI: 0.10-2.90) nor attentional (adjusted OR =0.84, 95% CI: 0.25-2.84) impulsivity were related to pregnancy intentionality. CONCLUSIONS: High non-planning impulsivity may be a risk factor for unplanned pregnancy. Further research should explore whether increasing the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives or integrating if-then planning into contraceptive counseling among women with higher non-planning impulsivity can lower unplanned pregnancy rates.
Rights and Permissions
Citation: Godiwala P, Appelhans BM, Moore Simas TA, Xiao RS, Liziewski KE, Pagoto SL, Waring ME. Pregnancy intentionality in relation to non-planning impulsivity. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2016 Jun 20:1-7. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27319571. DOI:10.1080/0167482X.2016.1194390. Link to article on publisher's website
Related Resources
Link to article in PubMed

Prachi Godiwala participated in this study as a medical student as part of the Senior Scholars research program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

  • UMCCTS funding,
  • impulsivity,
  • long-active reversible contraceptives,
  • pregnancy intention,
  • unplanned pregnancy
PubMed ID
Citation Information
Prachi Godiwala, Bradley M. Appelhans, Tiffany A. Moore Simas, Rui Sherry Xiao, et al.. "Pregnancy intentionality in relation to non-planning impulsivity" (2016) ISSN: 1743-8942
Available at: