Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology 38:2 (2020), pp 184–198.

DOI: 10.1080/02646838.2019.1636944


Copyright © 2019 Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology. Published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


Objective: This study aimed to examine the interaction between pregnancy loss and pregnancy intentions on women’s happiness about a subsequent pregnancy.

Background: Anxiety about prior loss persist for women, even during subsequent pregnancies. It is unclear from prior research, whether a prior pregnancy loss shapes attitudes towards and feelings about a subsequent birth.

Methods: Using data from the 2002–2013 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), we used logistic regression analyses to explore the implications of a prior pregnancy loss for happiness about a subsequent pregnancy that ends in a live birth. We compared births classified as on-time, mistimed, unwanted, and ambivalent.

Results: Births were more likely to be characterized as on-time if they occurred following a pregnancy loss, and women were less likely to report being happy about a conception if they were ambivalent about the conception and experienced a previous loss. Overall, pregnancy loss alone was not associated with lower levels of happiness about a subsequent birth.

Conclusions: Pregnancy loss can be a highly distressing experience, women’s happiness about a subsequent pregnancy is not reduced due to prior pregnancy loss. Future research should explore why women who were ambivalent about pregnancy reported lower levels of happiness following a loss.