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Working women delaying pregnancies PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Savie Karnel   

KidsWith no leave or job security, working women are rethinking their plans to have children. Some are going in for abortions, others are putting off their pregnancies

THIS isn't a good time to have babies, recession-hit women believe. The number of working women who want to abort or delay their pregnancies has increased dramatically, doctors in Bangalore told MiD DAY.

"For the past few months, women have come to me to abort their babies. Many are wives of software engineers," said Dr Vijaylakshmi Paramesh, gynaecologist at Bangalore Diabetes Centre, who is soon opening her all-women Bangalore Medical Centre.

Last week, a well-off couple with one child went to her. The wife is pregnant with their second baby, but they fear the husband may lose his job soon. So they went in for an abortion.

"I also know of several instances where women who are pregnant for the first time have also sought termination," Dr Vijayalakshmi said.

She said she gets many such requests but not everyone is advised abortion. "We can terminate the pregnancy if the mother comes in the first month and a half. Whoever comes to me after that, I ask them to continue with the pregnancy," she said.

No maternity leave

Unable to get leave from work, some women are left with no choice but to resign or delay pregnancy plans.

Poonam K, a techie, opted to resign. "My bosses told me that I could take two months' leave but I couldn't get the six months maternity leave. Since doctors have advised me bed rest and I am already in my fifth month of pregnancy, I had to resign," she told MiD DAY.

She is aware this is a "very bad time to resign" but she says she had no choice.

Gynaecologist and sexologist Dr Padmini Prasad too has seen such cases. "I advised complete bed rest for a lady, but her office declined to give her leave. She doesn't want to lose her job and is risking her pregnancy.

She is working despite knowing it can be harmful for the unborn child," she said.

Plans on hold

Many of Dr Prasad's patients who had come to her seeking help to conceive, too, have changed their plans.

"Some have stopped medication used for aiding pregnancies and say that they will wait till the economy stabilises. Only women who are around 35 years are going ahead with their pregnancies," she said.

Ambrita, an HR executive, and Rakesh, a techie, have also put off their baby plans.

"So far we have had no problems with our jobs. But we are just being cautious. We had started trying for a baby but have now put off our plans for some more time. My husband is 31 years old, and he wanted to have a baby soon so he could connect with the child as it grows. Now, we think we should manage with being two years older. We need to have financial stability before having a child," said Ambrita.

Dr Malini Prasad of Mallya Hospital, who also runs Desai hospital, feels that this fear is pronounced among middle class couples.

"Upper class patients are not facing any problem. The middle class, especially software engineers, are the ones affected by recession. Their companies have reduced their medical insurance. I see many of them going to smaller nursing homes to cut down medical expenditure during pregnancies," she said.


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