As is well known, people move closer together in times of crisis. So also during the corona pandemic. You are at home more often, you have more time for togetherness. But does that also lead to a baby boom? From a historical perspective, one could assume that. After all, the birth rates have risen frequently after major crises. Just under two years after the peak of the Spanish flu, almost twice as many babies were born in some countries as before the pandemic began. Is it the same with Covid-19?
According to a survey by the WDR in several practices, there could actually be an above-average number of births at the end of the year. At the moment, gynecologists would register around a third more new pregnancies than usual. As a reason, many patients would state that the pregnancy is due to the home office or the lockdown. However, there are still no official studies to back up these figures.
Bundesverband still sees no trend
The Federal Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is therefore critical of these figures. Since most medical practices were hardly equipped with protective clothing in March until well into April, patients were asked to come to the practice only in urgent emergencies. “It may well be that women who have become pregnant during this period have initially waited until the situation calms down,” says Christian Albring, President of the Federal Association at the request of NewsABC.net. “Those who initially stayed away, but then came to the practices from May, could justify the perceived increase.” With increases in the single-digit percentage range, there is no noticeable trend for the increase in pregnancies.
An Italian research group led by Elisabetta Micelli from the University of Florence wanted to get to the bottom of the question of whether and how the corona crisis affects family planning. Already at the end of March, when the Italians were in the third week of the lockdown, the scientists conducted an online survey with almost 1,500 subjects. The answers showed that the pandemic can have an impact on family planning – but rather a negative one.
Results show an inhibitory effect
Around 20 percent of those surveyed had planned a child before the virus broke out, but more than a third rejected the plan due to the uncertain situation. The other way round, participants in the study also stated that the desire for change and thus for a child only developed from the lockdown. According to the study, only four percent of them actually implemented the project.
It can also be observed in Germany that fear and insecurity in young couples can inhibit the desire to have children in the short term. “In this time of economic uncertainty, there are actually couples who wait to start a family until the situation has been resolved,” says Albring of the Federal Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The same probably also applies to parents who have spent the whole day with their children in their home office for weeks and months and therefore feel less than more desire to expand their families during this time.
The non-profit association Mother Hood, in which parents are committed to better obstetrics, has also received requests from couples whether they should have a child during these times. “But it was more about topics that fathers are not allowed to come into the delivery room or the mask requirement at birth,” says the press spokeswoman for the association Katharina Desery. It was less about financial or economic issues.
Boom could cause problems
However, if there is actually a significant increase in the birth rate, Desery is more concerned about this. Because midwives are too little all year round and the situation is particularly tight at the end of the year. “The undersupply that existed before the crisis would only get worse.”
Whether and how the birth rate will actually change due to the corona pandemic can be seen at the earliest at the end of December, however, rather at the beginning of January of the coming year. The evaluated birth statistics will be published even later: in this case in mid-2022.