Upadhyay’s work encompasses two overarching themes: the effects of women's empowerment and gender equity on reproductive health and improving reproductive health services for disadvantaged populations. Her methodological expertise is in quantitative analyses using epidemiologic and demographic methods. Upadhyay has lead several projects related to contraception and abortion that collectively aim to expand women's ability to determine the number and timing of their children and improve access to reproductive health services.
Develops and validates a multidimensional instrument to measure “reproductive autonomy” or women’s ability to achieve their reproductive intentions. Provides researchers with a tool to assess women’s power regarding contraceptive use, pregnancy, and childbearing, both domestically and globally.
Examines factors influencing delay in seeking abortion and the outcomes for women denied abortion care because of gestational age limits at abortion facilities. Finds that adolescents and women who did not recognize they were pregnant early were most likely to delay seeking care. Argues that the most common reason for delay was having to raise money for travel and procedure costs. Estimates that more than 4000 women a year are denied an abortion in the U.S. because of facility gestational limits and must carry unwanted pregnancies to term.
Examines almost 55,000 abortions among women covered by the California Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, to estimate rate of complications from abortion, including complications diagnosed or treated at emergency departments (EDs).
Examines whether accessing abortion allows women to achieve personal life goals. Data are from the Turnaway Study, and compared 4 groups of women: women who were just over a facility’s gestational age limit, were denied an abortion and went on to parent the child; or did not parent; women who were just under a facility’s gestational age limit and received an abortion; and women who presented in the first trimester and received an abortion.