Pregnant or Not, Some Women are Ok Either Way
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08 May, 2010
Study finds that one in four females have mixed feelings about having children
Anew study has suggested that contrary to the belief that women of childbearing age fall into two categories: those trying and not trying to have children, a third has shown that there are women who are fine either way.
Nearly a fourth of women consider themselves “OK either way” about getting pregnant, a wide swath of ambivalence that surprised researchers, and that could reshape how doctors approach many aspects of women’s health care.
In a study of nearly 4,000 women ages 25 to 45 who are sexually active, about 71 per cent said they were not trying to get pregnant, while 6 per cent said they were.
But nearly one in four, 23 per cent, told researchers they were “OK either way”, they were neither trying to conceive, nor trying to prevent a pregnancy.
Among women who had no children, 60 per cent said they were trying to not get pregnant, 14 per cent were trying to get pregnant and 26 per cent responded that they were fine any which way.
“This finding dramatically challenges the idea that women are always trying, one way or another, to either get pregnant or not get pregnant,” Julia McQuillan, professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the study’s lead author, said.
“It also shows that women who are OK either way should be assessed separately from women who are intentional about pregnancy,” she stated.
“If health-care providers only ask women if they are currently trying to get pregnant and women say no, then the assumption is that they are trying not to get pregnant,” McQuillan said.
“Clearly, many women are less intentional about pregnancy. Yet this group should be treated as if they will likely conceive and should therefore get recommendations such as ensuring adequate folic acid intake and limiting alcohol intake,” she added.
Women who said they were OK either way reported the highest number when asked what the ideal number of children would be – 3.17 on average. They also tended to be slightly more religious than women who were either trying to get pregnant or not trying to get pregnant.