It appears a traditional family - with a breadwinning father and full-time mother - remains the ideal for the vast majority of women, with three out of four new mothers stating they would stay at home and bring up their child if they could afford to, instead of returning to work.
However, the financial pressures placed upon families are forcing many new mums to re-enter employment, even if they don't want to.
According to the research by uSwitch, six out of 10 mums who return to work after having a baby do so only to pay off debt or ease financial pressures.
Meanwhile, just one in seven said they wanted to work again in order to develop their career.
Mums lose out
Desire to stay at home
The findings, produced from a survey of 1,008 mothers, back up a series of opinion polls in recent years, all of which showed that a high proportion of new mothers would prefer to stay at home.
This goes against the assumption among politicians, civil servants and academics that working is good for mothers and that what families really want is more subsidised childcare, which can be expensive.
The poll found that 75 per cent of new mothers said they would have stayed at home 'if money was no object', while only 12 per cent did not want to be full-time mothers.
A further 13 per cent replied they 'don't know' if they want to be a stay-at-home mum.
You don't have to return to work after maternity leave, but sometimes financial pressures can force your hand.
Of those who did return to employment, 55 per cent said they did so because money was tight and 3 per cent said they had to go back because pregnancy had left them in serious debt.
Ann Robinson, of uSwitch, said: "At a time when women face the biggest squeeze on employment, new mums are being forced to return to the workplace because of financial pressures.
"The high cost of living coupled with the often crippling cost of a mortgage means that many households today need two incomes to get by."
Among those who gave other reasons, one in five said they needed something in their lives other than their home and baby and 14 per cent wanted to continue their career.
The survey also asked mothers to give estimates of the extra costs their family was facing because of having a baby.
The typical estimate was that family bills rose by just over £2,500, but one in 10 believed the annual added costs to be more than £5,000.