The Consequences of Unintended Childbearing: A White Paper

ReportFamiliesMay 1 2007

This report provides a critical review of the current research literature on the consequences of unintended childbearing for families and children. The review addresses the following potential consequences: prenatal and perinatal risks (e.g., inadequate or delayed initiation of prenatal care, smoking/drinking/substance use during pregnancy, prematurity, low birthweight and not breastfeeding); risks for the children born from unintended births (e.g., poor physical and mental health; poor developmental, behavioral and educational outcomes; poor mother-child relationships; and weaker union formation in young adulthood); and risks for parents who have an unintended birth (e.g., poor psychological well-being, negative attitudes towards parenting, and low relationship quality).