Worries about the economy have led many American women to think twice about having a baby, a survey released on Wednesday found, with nearly half of those surveyed saying they want to delay pregnancy or limit the number of children they have.


A pregnant woman reading her ballot paper is seen through a curtain in a booth at a polling station organized at a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, October 31, 2004. REUTERS/Mykhailo Markiv.

At the same time, many women said they were skimping on birth control, switching to a cheaper method or even going without as a way of saving money, according to the survey by researchers at the not-for-profit Alan Guttmacher Institute, which studies sexual and reproductive health.

The recession has put many women -- including middle-class women who are having trouble making ends meet -- in an untenable situation, Dr. Sharon Camp, Guttmacher's president and chief executive, said in a statement.

They want to avoid unintended pregnancy more than ever, but at the same time are having difficulty affording the out-of-pocket costs of prescription contraception, she said.

The nationally representative sample of nearly 1,000 low and middle-income sexually active women done in July and August found as many as one in four women had put off a visit to the gynecologist in the past year to save money.

And the same number said they were having a harder time paying for birth control than in the past.

Camp said that while delaying a prescription refill or skipping pills may save women money in the short term, it increases the risk of an unintended pregnancy, and possibly an unplanned birth or abortion later on.