women’s lives 3 – Family planning in women’s lives - unintended pregnancies and pregnancy conflicts
Project teamProject management
Prof. Cornelia Helfferich
Sozialwissenschaftliches FrauenForschungsInstitut Freiburg (SoFFI F.),
in association with the Institut für Soziologie at the University of Freiburg,
Prof. Wolfgang Essbach
Heike Klindworth, Dipl.-Biol.,
Yvonne Heine, M. A.,
Ines Wlosnewski, Dipl.-Demogr.,
Judith Eckert, M. A.,
Annemarie Graf, M. A.,
Christine Straub, M. A.,
Rainer Wagner as well as interviewers and those involved in evaluating the qualitative part of the study
Implementation of the telephone interviews
TNS Emnid, Bielefeld, Abteilung Empirische Sozialforschung
ClientBundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung
Tel.: 0221 8992-0
Fax: 0221 8992-300
Project Manager: Angelika Hessling
Research institutionSozialwissenschaftliches FrauenForschungsInstitut Freiburg (SoFFI F.)
Tel.: 0761 478126-90
Fax: 0761 478126-99
Research designProject period July 2011 to February 2014
Cornerstones of the study
- A broad understanding of family planning
Family planning is more than just contraception or planning to have children. It includes all of the decisions and developments with which private life with or without children is shaped.
- Biographical approach and life-circumstance approach
This survey asked retrospectively about family planning events in women’s lives, such as all of the participants’ pregnancies. The survey also asked about the age/life-phase as well as the life circumstances during which the pregnancies occurred.
- Combination of methods: integration of the perspective of women and women experts
In addition to the statistical biographical data, the study evaluated the women’s own stories about their lives to capture their personal viewpoints and reasons. In addition, the study wanted to know about the perspective of women counsellors from family and pregnancy advice centres.
- Socio-geographical approach: a comparison between federal states
The four selected states represent the differences between east (old GDR) and west Germany as well as differences between ‘city states’ (Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen, here represented by Berlin) and the rest (here represented by Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony and Saxony), with regard to a number of indicators in family planning and social structure. This study is representative of the individual states.
- Comparisons over time
Since this study is geared to previous studies, it is possible to make comparisons with results from 1998 for women without a migrant background, from 2007–2010 for migrant women, and from 2001 for men.
Sample and method
- Quantitative survey
- 4,002 women between the ages of 20 and 44, with data about 4,794 pregnancies
- random sample from the phone books in Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, Lower Saxony and Saxony; 1,000 women per state
- telephone survey with a standardized questionnaire
The standardized questionnaire asks questions about all past pregnancies and seeks to find out whether they were wanted or not. It also asks about the women’s relationship and work status as well as their financial situation at the time the pregnancy occurred. This can be related to the women’s personal background, their biography as well as their attitudes. There were in-depth questions about unintended pregnancies – both those that were carried to term and those that were terminated. The regional differences of the four survey areas were taken into account during the evaluation.
- Qualitative survey
- 97 one-on-one interviews with women who had had at least one unintended pregnancy and either carried it to term or terminated it
- Contrastive sample formed from the sample from the quantitative survey
- Partially narrative, biographical guided interviews. The respective information provided in the standardized and qualitative survey sections can be related.
Interviews with family-planning experts 26 interviews with employees of advice centres with different focuses and funding bodies in the four states.