The future of American families appears to still be in COVID quarantine. A new study reveals one in two mothers are putting off plans to have any more children due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Researchers from New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine finds over 49 percent of mothers who had been trying to become pregnant again before the start of the pandemic stopped within the first few months of the COVID-19 outbreak. The survey of 1,179 mothers in New York City also found that one in three women who had been thinking about having another baby before the pandemic but had not yet begun trying are 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 Dr. Linda Kahn in a university release. “This is yet another example of the potential long-lasting consequences of the pandemic beyond the more obvious health and economic effects.”
Dr. Kahn, an assistant professor at NYU Grossman, adds that the delays in having another baby prompted by the pandemic may lead to increased health risks for both mother and child.
Early evidence has already identified a birthrate decline in the United States during the coronavirus pandemic. Recent figures show that the country saw roughly 300,000 fewer births in 2020 than experts predicted using annual fertility trends. There was a particular drop in the last two months of the year, which corresponds with fewer conceptions at the beginning of the outbreak in March.
The researchers analyzed data from an ongoing pregnancy and child health study. In the survey, which collected data beginning in mid-April 2020, the moms recalled their pregnancy plans before the pandemic as well as whether they were still going forward with their plans at the time of the poll.
The findings appear in the journal JAMA Network Open.