Because of the troubled economy, women are delaying pregnancy as well as their annual gynecological check-ups, found a new Gallup Organization survey conducted for the AmericanCollege of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The findings indicate that nearly 17 per cent of married women in the United States blame the economy to affect their plans to become pregnant and how many children to have.
According to the results, 14 per cent of women with the ages between 18 and 44 years who took part in the survey, said that the economy has had a negative impact on their plans to increase the size of their family. Among the women who were married, this went up to 17 per cent. When it came to delaying pregnancy, 12 per cent of the women in the survey said that they have known someone who had postponed a planned pregnancy because of the financial crisis. Almost one out of every 10 married women - 9 per cent - reported that the recession was a factor in their decision to postpone a pregnancy that was already planned.
The survey found that, compared to the numbers a year ago, 20 per cent of women (1 out of every 5), are more preoccupied presently about having an unintended pregnancy, and similarly, about one in five women - 19 per cent - are more likely to be conscientious about using the methods of contraception in order to avoid pregnancy. Today, these concerns are even higher among women who are in a relationship but not married, with 33 per cent to be more worried about an unintended pregnancy, and 32 per cent to be more mindful of using their birth control methods so as not to get pregnant.
The ACOG survey also found that two-thirds of women - 66 per cent - with the ages between 18 and 44 years, say that they have been affected by the current financial crisis and economic recession. "While almost all Americans are feeling the pinch, the survey findings clearly indicate that women are feeling the impact in the most personal and intimate areas of their life. Decisions about sex and family planning are at the core of a woman's well-being and will have lasting repercussions over her entire lifespan," said Dr. Douglas H. Kirkpatrick, MD, president of ACOG.
The crisis is also affecting women hard in other ways, including how often they pay a visit to their doctor and whether they are taking prescription medications, which is the major concern of ob-gyns, who, in many cases, are also the primary physicians for most women, noted Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, MD, ACOG vice president and senior vice president, chair, and residency director of the department of ob-gyn at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Among other findings was noted that more women are putting off now their yearly gynecologic check-up because of the economy, with 14 per cent reporting that they have skipped their appointment. That is in line with national healthcare trends that show more patients are forgoing preventive care visits with their primary care physician. Fifteen per cent said that they had to decrease or even cease taking certain medications due to a high price. When women are increasingly concerned about their financial situation, they are more likely to avoid much-needed routine visits and check ups and cut back or stop taking their medications, said Dr. Kirkpatrick in a statement.These are disturbing trends amid the current state of economic crisis, that could have a negative effect on the long-term health of women.
The ACOG survey findings coincide with the results of other recent reports on the economy and health care, such as a Kaiser Family Foundation poll that found that 15 per cent of Americans were cutting pills in half or skipping doses in order to make their prescription medications last for a longer time. In addition, according to the Kaiser survey, that included both male and female surveyors, roughly one in four - 27 per cent - reported to be putting off or postponing health care they were in need for, and more specifically, 19 per cent delayed going to the doctor for preventive care. In a national Gallup-Healthways Well-Being poll that was released earlier this spring, 21 per cent of Americans said that they had trouble paying for health care or medications over the past twelve months.
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