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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Is she having a baby? Uncertainty and delayed childbirth in the United States, 1970-2000

Alison Buttenheim, MBA, Department of Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, 176 W Oak Park Dr, Claremont, CA 91711, 909 399 0816, abuttenheim@hotmail.com and Lisa E. Lee, CD, Hunter House Publishers, 2514 Dana Street, Berkeley, CA 94704.

Women didnít use to choose motherhood; it chose them. Over the past 30 years, social mores and medical technology have evolved significantly. Each decade has brought greater opportunities for women to define their lives. With choice, however, comes complex decision making and uncertainty. This study links demographic fertility data from the past 40 years to attitudinal research on the nature and extent of uncertainty in womenís lives to explain the well-documented phenomena of delayed childbirth and childlessness. Data sources include the National Survey of Family Growth, the General Social Survey, Vital Statistics, and interviews.

We note that the greater freedom women enjoy today with respect to family formation strategies, career building, and timing and ordering of major life events has made the transition to motherhood more risky. Key contributors to fertility uncertainty include:

• the psychosocial role of the "biological time clock"

• cultural influences, including the pressures of family, career, urban tribe, and religion

• partner preferences and demands

• real or perceived risk of infertility, the promise of assisted reproductive technology

• the children women never have (abortions, miscarriages and other loss)

• the other "children" women have (caregiving for parents, siblings, and others)

We hypothesize that this risk, in the form of uncertainty, adds a new quantifiable stage to the decision to have a child, and that this stage varies by race/ethnicity, education, and union history. The study also addresses methodological issues inherent in an "undecided" fertility status.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to

Keywords: Pregnancy, Psychological Indicators

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Factors Affecting Sexual Behavior, Contraception, and Fertility-- U.S. and International Perspectives

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA