Recession Has Women Rethinking Childbearing

But other efforts besides birth control pills to prevent pregnancy may be gaining supporters during the financial crisis. Some women said they are switching to intra-uterine devices (IUDs) and injectable contraceptives, and among women who said they didn't want more children, 46 percent said that they are "thinking more about sterilization."

These changes in attitude and behavior may continue for long after the recession is officially over, Lindberg said. "National economic indicators may take a long time to translate into families' homes and bedrooms," she said.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the "Guttmacher Institute's report confirms what we are hearing at Planned Parenthood health centers across the country." Currently, 17.5 million women are in need of publicly funded family planning services, she added.

Men seem to share similar concerns about making babies during tough times. Earlier this year, doctors around the United States reported a sharp increase in the number of vasectomies performed since the economy soured.

They suspect the trend stems from both a decreased desire to have children because of the expense involved, and a wish to get such medical procedures done before their jobs -- and health insurance -- disappear.

More information

For more information on having a healthy pregnancy, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Laura Lindberg, Ph.D., senior research associate, Guttmacher Institute, New York City; Sept. 23, 2009 report, A Real-Time Look at the Impact of the Recession on Women's Family Planning and Pregnancy Decisions; Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

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