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COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Family Expansion Plans in NYC

September 17, 2021 • 9:50 am CDT
(Coronavirus Today)

Nearly half of New York City (NYC) mothers who had been trying to become pregnant again before the coronavirus pandemic began stopped in the first few months of the COVID-19 outbreak, a new study led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine shows.

This survey of 1,179 mothers in NYC also found that one-third of women who had been thinking about becoming pregnant before the pandemic but had not yet begun trying said they were no longer considering having another child.

Published on September 15, 2021, in the JAMA Network Open, this is the first to examine pregnancy plans among mothers during the first wave of COVID-19. 

“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,” said study lead author and epidemiologist Linda Kahn, Ph.D., MPH, in a press statement.

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 two months of the year, which corresponds with fewer conceptions at the beginning of the outbreak.

“These results emphasize the toll the coronavirus has taken not only on individual parents but perhaps on fertility rates overall,” says study senior author epidemiologist Melanie Jacobson, Ph.D., MPH.

The study authors next plan to repeat the survey with the same group of mothers and explore the potential impact of COVID-19 vaccination, an option not available at the survey time. 

National Institutes of Health grants provided funding for the study. No researcher disclosed industry conflicts of interest.

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