For married women, this scheme is very helpful.
For unmarried women, this scheme is not useful.

These sentences are clear because we have a term unmarried. I face difficulty describing the same thing whilst talking about the herb that increases the breast milk (of course, in mothers) but then it does not mean that women who are not mothers cannot use it for the breast enlargement.

[Herb] increases the quantity of breast milk in mothers but non-mothers can also take the herb as it helps multiplying the breast tissues resulting in a natural breast enlargement.

I'm not talking about a woman with infertility. I just want to refer a woman who has no issue/child. To make you all understand, I have referred her to as a non-mother. I don't want to use unmarried as it does not serve the purpose.

I can write ... "breast milk in mothers but women in general can also take the herb..." but then it's paraphrasing. I need the term, if available.

  • 1
    Note that help takes an infinitive, not a gerund: helps to multiply or helps multiply. And multiply is usable only with countable entities. The plural in tissues denotes different kinds of tissue; but the herb does not multiply the kinds (which would imply cancer!), it increases the tissues. Mar 16, 2014 at 13:44
  • You could also say "This herb increases breast tissue in women generally, resulting in breast enlargement, and in lactating women it will increase the amount of breast milk." There's no need to come up with a word or phrase that means "not mothers".
    – TimR
    Sep 12, 2016 at 16:11

6 Answers 6


As Jolenealaska says, we have no such word. Non-mothers is perfectly acceptable and understandable; but as you discern, it’s sort of clunky.

But since you have already identified the category with which this category is contrasted, you need not give it an explicit name. Just write:

[Herb] increases the quantity of breast milk in lactating mothers, but other women can also take the herb ...

I’ve added lactating, since you presumably want to include mothers of older children in your second category.

  • 1
    Very good point to rephrase as "lactating mothers". Women can be mothers without having given birth.
    – Roger
    Mar 17, 2014 at 15:05
  • Beside Lactating mothers, I would like to suggest breastfeeding mothers and non-lactating women (also written as nonlactating women). Mar 18, 2014 at 21:24
  • @DamkerngT. But presumably it increases the quantity of lactating mothers whether or not they are breastfeeding. Mar 18, 2014 at 21:34
  • I think you're right! (I just read what Maulik wrote once again.) How about the non-lactating women? I think it could be something close to what he was looking for. Mar 18, 2014 at 21:41
  • 2
    @DamkerngT. Oh, sure. But it's cleaner just to write "other". Mar 18, 2014 at 21:44

Actually, English does have such a word. The clinical term to describe a woman who has never given birth is nullipara. The similar word nulligravida refers to a woman who has never been pregnant.

However, both of these words are rather uncommon outside a medical setting.


Doctors use the term "nullipar", from the Latin "nulliparous". It means "a woman who has never carried a child to term", as opposed to "a woman who has never been pregnant".

Usually encountered in the context of cancer patients, as in "The subject is a 54 year-old nullipar with no previous history of cancer or abnormal pap smear."



They were nearly always elderly divorced or childless women, with no children to raise or with grown families.

It's not 100% unambiguous, since it might mean that there were children but they have died, left home, or grown up: so it depends on the context. It seems to be used more in the phrase "childless couples" than "childless women".

  • This is the answer for everyday communication. This should be accepted as the right answer.
    – RedSonja
    Oct 17, 2022 at 8:40

The English language lacks the word you are looking for. It just doesn't exist. In other languages, it's right there, front and center. Not in English though. Others might be able to come up with a word, but they're jumping through hoops. The best option available within the common language is probably "girl" vs "woman".

  • 3
    I disagree with the recommendation of "girl" over "women in general" because it introduces considerations of age. Mar 16, 2014 at 13:40
  • True, but so do similar words in other languages. We don't have Madame vs Mademoiselle or Ajumma vs Agashi. We only have what we have. Mar 16, 2014 at 13:47
  • Right, but if the distinction is between nursing mothers and other women it doesn't make sense to speak of marriage or age--least of all to include children (who I don't imagine are in the target audience for this particular brand of snake oil). I think StoneyB does a good job with the words we've got. Mar 17, 2014 at 0:23
  • Madame vs Mademoiselle secondarily introduces age considerations, but primarily is one of marriage. Girl vs woman is predominately one of age.
    – eques
    Sep 12, 2016 at 14:30
  • Absolutely wrong. A girl is a female who is not an adult yet, whether childless or not. A woman is an adult female. By the way, calling adult women girls is demeaning, please don't do it.
    – RedSonja
    Oct 17, 2022 at 8:42

As others have noted, there is no single word that means "woman who is not a mother". The conventional term to use to describe such a person is "non-mother". This is very commonly and routinely used.

Theoretically, all men are "non-mothers", but the term is normally understood to refer only to women.

A potential catch here is that in context, it looks like you are talking about women who have babies. "Mothers" means a woman who has one or more children, regardless of their age. That is, a woman with a 20 year old child is still called a "mother". If your intent is to say women who are breast feeding, then you would have to say "breast-feeding women" or "lactating women". The opposite would be "non-breast-feeding women" or "non-lactating women", which is getting rather awkward. At this point "other women" might be a good choice.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .