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ABSTRACT

A prospective study of 103 women undergraduate students explored expectations and knowledge about pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn care. Participants completed a 35-item questionnaire based on a planned pregnancy. Most women (68%) thought they were extremely likely to become pregnant in their lives and planned to have an average of 2.6 children. Positive emotions about pregnancy were most frequently excited, happy, and proud, and negative emotions were most frequently nervous, scared, and anxious. Women expected that pregnancy and parenting would interfere most with work or education plans. Choices of birthplace were hospital delivery room (54.4%), in-hospital birthing room (35%), out-ofhospital birth center (3.9%), and home (2.9%). One-half of the women planned to breastfeed, 35 percent had not decided, and 10.7 percent would not breastfeed. Positive feelings about pregnancy were correlated with positive feelings about labor and birth (r = 0.48, P < 0.001). Negative feelings about pregnancy were correlated with a low self-assessment of ability to care for an infant (r = 0.27, P < 0.01). Some college women's expectations are similar to those held by pregnant women, and suggest the need for further education of young women in areas such as prenatal health care and breastfeeding.