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Could UK lockdown lead to a generation of ‘coronababies’?

UK News | Published:

Health minister Nadine Dorries questioned how busy maternity services will be in nine months.

The UK could see a potential surge in pregnancies

There could be a surge in the number of babies born in the UK as a result of the lockdown, it has been suggested.

Health minister Nadine Dorries has questioned how busy maternity services will be in nine months’ time.

As people stay at home during the shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, couples may take the opportunity to spend more intimate time together.

And in nine months, around Christmas, there could be additional strain on maternity services as more babies are born.

Ms Dorries tweeted: “As the minister responsible for maternity services, I’m just wondering how busy we are going to be, nine months from now.”

Generation Coronababy could occur in a similar fashion to those born in the baby boom after the First and Second World Wars.

Surges in the number of pregnancies in the UK followed both wars as veterans returned home to their families.

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But health experts said it was vital that contraceptive services could still be accessed during the lockdown.

And others cautioned that instead of “lockdown love”, spending more time together could lead to “lockdown loathing”.

Clare Murphy, director of external affairs at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, told the PA news agency: “Couples may not actively be planning a pregnancy in the current climate, but all of us across maternity and abortion services are bracing for an increase in unplanned pregnancies as a result of the prolonged period in lockdown combined with expected difficulties obtaining contraception.

“Forecasts are difficult as this has simply never been experienced before, it’s not comparable with the anecdotal surges in pregnancies following blackouts or snow-ins because the length of time couples are being confined together is so much longer.

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“We don’t know what the psychological and emotional fallout of that may be – whether it will lead to lockdown love or lockdown loathing.

Pregnancy
The possibility of a surge in pregnancies has been raised by health minister Nadine Dorries (PA)

“For some couples an unplanned pregnancy at this time will be a happy accident, mistimed but a welcome addition.

“For others however, the very precarious nature of the future, economic worries and job insecurity will mean this will feel like the worst possible time to have a baby. Our job is to make sure whatever women’s choices, we can deliver the care and support they need at this challenging and unprecedented time.”

A spokeswoman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists added: “Conception during the coronavirus pandemic is a personal choice but for those planning to avoid pregnancy it is essential that contraceptive services are still accessible to women and their partners during this time.

“We support the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare’s recommendation to extend the use of online contraception services across the UK. This will help to reduce the expected rise in unplanned pregnancies, which also further highlight the need for a more streamlined approach for early medical abortions which we have called for.

“These new ways of providing care to women will reduce the number of times they have to visit a healthcare environment as well as reducing the burden on the health system when there are unprecedented demands due to coronavirus.”

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