Topic: Many Mothers May Have Delayed or Abandoned Plans for Additional Children Because of COVID-19 Pandemic
Nearly half of New York City mothers who had been trying to become pregnant before the coronavirus pandemic began stopped in the first few months of the outbreak, a new study shows.
Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the survey of 1,179 mothers in New York City also found that one-third of people who had been thinking about becoming pregnant before the pandemic but had not yet begun trying said they were no longer considering it.
“Our findings show that the initial COVID-19 outbreak appears to have made women think twice about expanding their families and in some cases reduce the number of children they ultimately intend to have,” says study lead author and epidemiologist Linda G. Kahn, PhD, MPH. “This is yet another example of the potential long-lasting consequences of the pandemic beyond the more obvious health and economic effects.”
Pregnancy becomes riskier and more difficult to achieve as women age, so the delays prompted by the pandemic may lead to increased health risks for both mother and child, as well as the need for costly fertility treatments to overcome age-related infertility, she adds.
Dr. Kahn, an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Health, notes that all of the people in the study already had at least one child age 3 or younger. As a result, it is possible that the challenges of caring for a young child during the peak of New York City’s outbreak may have played a role in their hesitancy to have another baby.
Early evidence has already identified a birthrate decline in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent data showed that the country saw roughly 300,000 fewer births in 2020 than experts had expected based on annual fertility trends, with a particular drop in the last 2 months of the year, which corresponds with fewer conceptions at the beginning of the outbreak in March. However, until now, few investigations have explored the root causes behind individual parents’ decisions to delay pregnancy.
Topic Discussed: Many Mothers May Have Delayed or Abandoned Plans for Additional Children Because of COVID-19 Pandemic