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Decline in Births Linked to COVID-19 Pandemic Societal Shutdown

Last Updated: June 04, 2021.

FRIDAY, June 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- There was an initial decline in births in association with the COVID-19 pandemic societal lockdown, but a birth volume surge is anticipated in summer 2021, according to a study published online June 3 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Molly J. Stout, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used projection modeling based on electronic health care records within a single U.S. academic health care system to estimate changes in pregnancy and birth rates prior to and after the COVID-19 pandemic societal lockdowns. All pregnancy episodes were included from 2017 and were modeled prospectively to 2021.

The researchers identified a steadily increasing number of pregnancy episodes during the study period, from 4,100 to 4,620 pregnancies in 2017 and 2020, respectively. After the societal shutdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a reduction in pregnancy episode initiation (risk ratio, 0.86). This seemed to be due to a decrease in conceptions following the March 15 mandated COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. A birth volume surge can be anticipated in summer 2021, as suggested by prospective modeling of pregnancies.

"In this cohort study, we documented decreased birth rates following the COVID-19 pandemic societal changes, followed by a projected birth volume surge, suggesting that major societal changes may factor into reproductive choices," the authors write.

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