“Death and Desirability: Retrospective Reporting of Unintended Pregnancy after a Child’s Death”
Abstract: Social scientists have long debated how to best measure pregnancy intentions. The standard approach in domestic and international surveys is to use mothers’ retrospective reports of their intentions at the time of conception. Because women have already given birth at the time of this report, their children’s health may influence their responses. Some fertility scholars have argued that mothers will be more likely to recall “lower quality”—that is, unhealthy—children as unintended. What about children who are no longer alive? In contemporary sub-Saharan Africa, where one in ten African children die before their fifth birthday, this research aims to understand whether women are susceptible to recalling deceased children, and the pregnancies from which they resulted, in a more positive light. Leveraging Demographic and Health Survey data from 31 sub-Saharan African countries, I will demonstrate how children’s health and vital status is associated with women’s retrospective reports of pregnancy intentions. The results challenge the reliability of standard measures of pregnancy intentions in high mortality settings, and thus our current knowledge of the levels and consequences of unintended pregnancies in these contexts.
If you are interested in meeting with or joining the speaker for lunch, please send email to Seminars AT ccpr.ucla.edu
10:00 am – 10:30 am: Prof. Jessica Gipson
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm: Seminar
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm: Proseminar Lunch: Subasri Narasimhan, Sung Park, Emily Treleaven
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm: Prof. Patrick Heuveline