Professional women are twice as likely to plan a pregnancy than their unemployed counterparts, a new study has revealed.
The research into nearly 68,000 expectant Irish mothers at Dublin’s Coombe Hospital found 88% of working women planned pregnancies in 2017.
But the number dropped to 42% for women who were not employed
The study on expectant mothers from 2010 to 2017 found the number of mothers who smoked and drank alcohol has dropped sharply.
But there had been a significant rise in mothers on anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication in the last decade.
Overall, the research carried out by the UCD Centre for Human Reproduction at the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital and Dublin City University found the rate of planned pregnancies increased from 68% in 2010 to 73% in 2017.
In 2017, half of expectant mothers attending the hospital, which delivers one in eight babies in the country annually, were overweight or obese.
That year, professional and managerial women had the highest mean pregnancy age while unemployed women had the lowest age.
The study has been published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology.
Its observations are consistent with recent trends of high female participation in both the labour force and further education in Ireland in the years after the economic crash and subsequent recovery.
The study stated: “During the recession, the participation by women aged 20–29 years in third level education increased.
“Women’s unemployment rate was lower than men’s. Labour force participation for women with a third level education remained high in their 20s and 30s.”
Co-author Professor Michael Turner said there should be awareness deferring motherhood until later in life can cause complications for women.
He added: “It is great that an increased number of women in Ireland are joining the workforce or staying in full time education.
“However, they need to be aware that if they defer motherhood voluntarily for too long they may find it harder to get pregnant as their fertility decreases.
“Also, pregnancy complications such as miscarriage and obesity are increased in the older woman”.
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