Washington, May 7 (IANS) A widely held assumption was that women of childbearing age fell neatly into two camps: those trying to have children and those not trying to have children. A new study suggests that nearly a fourth of women consider themselves ‘ok either way’.
In a study of nearly 4,000 women aged 25 to 45, who are sexually active, about 71 percent said they were not trying to get pregnant, while six percent said they were.
But nearly one in four, 23 percent, told researchers they were neither trying to conceive nor trying to prevent a pregnancy.
‘This finding dramatically challenges the idea that women are always trying, one way or another, to either get pregnant or not get pregnant,’ said Julia McQuillan, professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UN-L) and the study’s lead author.
‘It also shows that women who are ok either way should be assessed separately from women who are intentional about pregnancy.
Among women who had no children, 60 percent said they were trying to not get pregnant, 14 percent were trying to get pregnant and 26 percent responded that they were ‘ok either way’.
‘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.’
In addition, the study examined the attitudes and social pressures regarding pregnancy of the respondents, as well as their socio-economic status.
Women who said they were neither trying nor preventing pregnancy said 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.