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Keywords:

  • depression;
  • health practice;
  • planned pregnancy;
  • pregnant women;
  • unplanned pregnancy

Abstract

Aim:  The aim of the study was to explore the prevalence and characteristics of women with unplanned pregnancy (UP) and to examine the associations between pregnancy planning status and women's health practice and depression during pregnancy in Manisa, Turkey.

Material and Methods:  The study was conducted with pregnant women (n = 550) who attended a state hospital for antenatal care in Manisa, Turkey. Health practices of women during pregnancy were assessed with the Health Practices Questionnaire (HPQ II) and depression was measured by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).

Results:  Of the 550 pregnancies, 149 (27.1%) were unplanned. Women whose pregnancies were planned were likely to be younger, more educated, employed, to perceive more social support and to be more satisfied in marriage life than women whose pregnancies were unplanned. The number of pregnancies, births and children was higher in women whose pregnancies were unplanned. Women with UP had significantly lower HPQ scores (mean 118.4, SD = 13.5) than women with planned pregnancies (mean 124.0, SD = 14.1). Women with UP also had a significantly higher score for BDI (mean 10.3, SD 6.9 vs mean 8.1, SD 5.8).

Conclusions:  Women with UP had engaged in fewer healthy practices and experienced more depressive symptoms during pregnancy. Health-care providers should screen for UP at an early stage and offer health education programs to help women to develop positive health practices and to improve their emotional health.