the act of producing or bringing forth children.


capable of, suitable for, or relating to the bearing of a child or of children: the childbearing years.

Origin of childbearing

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at child, bearing Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for child-bearing

Contemporary Examples of child-bearing

  • From October 24: In the early 1980s, there were some 29 abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing age.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Recognize Reality on Abortion

    David Frum

    January 22, 2013

  • Societies that do the least to support mothers and child-bearing have more abortions.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Let's Get Real About Abortions

    David Frum

    October 29, 2012

  • As a general rule, societies that do the most to support mothers and child-bearing have the fewest abortions.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Let's Get Real About Abortions

    David Frum

    October 29, 2012

Historical Examples of child-bearing

  • Counting in the child-bearing women, I reckon about twenty per cent.

    Among the Pines

    James R. Gilmore

  • Cheese and a cake with a Device of Child-bearing and a promise of babies.

  • These signs all mean that her essential function is child-bearing.

  • He cursed her in child-bearing or in barrenness, and he cursed her children after her to all generations.

    Moon of Israel

    H. Rider Haggard

  • It all seems very dark to me, and the burden of child-bearing is not all the mother's.


    Emily Hilda Young

British Dictionary definitions for child-bearing



  1. the act or process of carrying and giving birth to a child
  2. (as modifier)of child-bearing age
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for child-bearing

also childbearing, "bringing forth of a child," late 14c., from child + verbal noun of bear (v.). As an adjective from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

child-bearing in Medicine




Pregnancy and parturition.
Related formschildbear′ing adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.