A fourth of women don’t care one way or another about having children, according to a nationwide study published in Maternal and Child Health Journal and reported on in a University of Nebraska-Lincoln news release.

“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, PhD, associate professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and the study’s lead author.

For the study, researchers surveyed nearly 4,000 sexually active women, ages 25 to 45, about their social economic status, attitudes and social pressures concerning motherhood.

The findings showed 71 percent of the women were not trying to get pregnant, 6 percent were trying to get pregnant, and 23 percent (nearly 1 in 4) said they were neither trying to conceive nor trying to prevent pregnancy.

In addition, 60 percent of child-free women said they weren’t trying to have children, 14 percent were actively trying and 26 percent didn’t care either way.

“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,” McQuillan said.

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