For Some Women, Recession Means Having Few Children
By Rob Stein
The recession is apparently prompting more women to try to delay having babies, according to the first survey (pdf) aimed at documenting the effects of the economic downtown on childbearing.
Nearly half of working-class women want to put off childbearing or to have fewer children, according to the survey, which was commissioned by the Guttmacher Institute, a private, nonprofit reproductive-health research organization.
The study, conducted by Knowledge Networks, involved a nationally representative sample of 947 women ages 18 to 34 with household incomes of less than $75,000, and it was conducted in July and August.
"These are women who might not have health insurance or may have lost their health insurance, and so might be most stressed," said Sharon Camp, Guttmacher's chief executive and president.
"The recession is putting many women and their partners between a rock and a hard place," Camp said. "They want to avoid an unplanned pregnancy more than ever, but for many of them, the ability to afford the birth control they need is getting harder than ever."
Significant findings from the survey are after the jump.
-- 44 percent of the women reported that, because of the economy, they want to reduce or delay childbearing. Most of these women want to get pregnant later (31 percent), want fewer children than planned (28 percent) or now do not want any more children (7 percent);
-- More than half the respondents (52 percent) said they were financially worse off than they were a year ago;
-- Nearly three out of every four women reported worrying more about money;
-- Among women with children, 57 percent reported worrying more about taking care of their kids;
-- 64 percent of women agreed with the statement, "With the economy the way it is, I can't afford to have a baby right now";
-- About a third (29 percent) agreed with the statement, "With the economy the way it is, I am more careful than I used to be about using contraception every time I have sex"; and
-- Nearly half of those who want no more children reported that, because of the economy, they are thinking more about sterilization.
At the same time, the survey found that financial problems were making it harder for women to use good contraception. The survey found:
-- Nearly one in four women reported having put off a gynecological or birth-control visit in the past year, to save money;
-- 23 percent reported having a harder time paying for birth control than in the past;
-- 8 percent of women reported that they sometimes did not use birth control in order to save money; and
-- Among women using the birth-control pill, 18 percent reported inconsistent use as a way to save money.
This post also appeared in The Daily Dose.
September 23, 2009; 7:50 AM ET
Categories: Family Health , Women's Health
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