Predictive ability of the Desire to Avoid Pregnancy Scale

October 21, 2022

Following on from the first P3 paper where we checked whether the Desire to Avoid Pregnancy (DAP) Scale was suitable to use in UK (published in July 2022, read more about it here), we have now looked in more detail at how well the DAP predicts pregnancy within 12 months.

Overall, our work shows that the DAP is excellent at identifying who is likely to become pregnant and who is not, in the next 12 months. This means it could be used as a screening tool for a range of purposes. For example, in primary care the DAP could be used to identify who would benefit from advice about how to prepare for pregnancy, for example by taking folic acid or stopping smoking. It could also be used by researchers planning a trial of a drug that might be dangerous to take in pregnancy, to ensure that the lowest proportion of participants experience pregnancy during the trial.

Our group of 994 non-pregnant women in the UK all completed the P3 survey at the start (October 2018) and again every three months for a year. The survey was made up of a range of questions including the DAP scale and at every follow-up all participants were asked whether they were currently pregnant or had been since the last survey. Using this information, we were able to explore how well the DAP score predicted pregnancy within 1 year.

Our analysis shows that the DAP was very good at identifying who would and would not become pregnant. For example, nearly three-quarters of women with a DAP score below 0.5 (meaning they have a low desire to avoid pregnancy) became pregnant within 12 months, while less than 1 in 100 women with a DAP score greater than 3 (high desire to avoid pregnancy) became pregnant.

We also assessed whether how well the DAP predicted pregnancy varied by socio-demographic factors. We found that both age and number of children were associated with pregnancy, however, the DAP remained the strongest predictor.

For more information, read the full paper here. Our next paper will be comparing the DAP scale with other ways of asking people about their pregnancy preferences.

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