Maternal Childhood Experiences and Rapid Repeat Pregnancy in a Low-Income, Urban Cohort
Background Rapid repeat pregnancy (RRP; < 18 months between pregnancies) is associated with higher risk of adverse maternal and child health outcomes. Drawing from attachment theory, we sought to examine the association between maternal childhood neglect and RRP as well as identify a protective childhood experience—caregiving—that reduces the impact of childhood neglect for RRP. Methods Data for the current study came from a prospective clinic-based cohort study conducted in 2017–2018 in a
... 2017–2018 in a South-Central U.S. state. The sample includes 111 pregnant women (ages 17–38) who had been pregnant more than once. Poisson regression analysis was used to examine the associations between maternal childhood experiences and number of RRP. Results On average, participants reported 1.02 RRP. Approximately 35% of the sample reported experiencing neglect during childhood. Controlling for sociodemographic, psychological, and childhood characteristics, childhood neglect was positively associated with RRP, whereas caregiving responsibilities during childhood was negatively associated with RRP. Interaction results indicate that the association between childhood neglect and RRP only holds for those who did not have caregiving responsibilities during childhood. Conclusions Study findings highlight the importance of childhood experiences for RRP. Further research is needed to explore the moderating effect of caregiving and its implications for (1) treatment of childhood neglect and (2) prevention of RRP.