First P3 Study paper published

July 29, 2022

The P3 Study team are very happy to announce that the first paper from the P3 study has been published. This paper describes the steps we took to evaluate the Desire to Avoid Pregnancy (DAP) Scale for use within the UK.

The DAP scale is a set of 14 questions, with 5 possible answers (ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree) which prospectively assess people’s preferences about a potential future pregnancy. Given that the scale was developed and validated for use in the US, it needed to be assessed to confirm that it would remain an effective measure of pregnancy preference when used in the UK.

Following extensive analysis and assessment of the DAP, using survey data from 994 women and one-to-one interviews with 28 women, we confirmed that the DAP is a valid and reliable measure of women’s desire to avoid pregnancy in the UK.

This is the first validated measure of pregnancy preference in the UK and the first evaluation of the DAP outside of the US. We are also the first to show that the DAP score is highly predictive of pregnancy, meaning it can be used to identify who is likely to become pregnant and who is not; 80% of women with the lowest DAP score became pregnant within 12 months, compared to less that 1% of women with the highest DAP score.

Applications of the DAP scale will be very useful in research; for those attempting to recruit a preconception cohort, or those wanting to recruit women who are unlikely to become pregnant, for example for a pharmacological study. As a result, the DAP could have the ability to increase the inclusion of women of reproductive age in research studies which they have previously been excluded from (one of the issues highlighted by the Women’s Health Strategy). 

The DAP also has potential clinical uses including being used to direct people to contraception or preconception care, depending on their DAP score.

The next steps will be to explore how the DAP could be utilised to empower and improve women’s choice and autonomy.

The full paper is available to read here on BMJ Open.