Saturday 26 September 2020

Forget 1.5 metres: Midwives in the north expect lockdown baby boom

new baby hand in adult handMidwives in the north of the Netherlands are reporting a surge in pregnancies, with many more babies due at the end of the year than normal, the Leeuwarder Courant newspaper said on Saturday.

In Harlingen, in Friesland, midwife Sylvia von Kospoth said her practice has 50% more mothers to be on its books than in a normal year, while in Drachten, midwifery De Nieuwkomer is overseeing 43 pregnancies due in November, compared with an average of 25.

‘Many women became pregnant early in the lockdown,’ midwife Wietske Klabbers told the LC. ‘Everybody is talking about coronavirus divorces, but it is leading to more births.’

The situation is similar in Groningen and Drenthe, and midwifery Laif in the provincial capital has been forced to refer mothers-to-be to other practices because they have so many on their books.

At the same time, midwives have had their hands full coping with vulnerable women, and mothers with psychological problems. Some were afraid that they would end up without any help and that our services would stop, Von Kospoth said.

However, Groningen University demographics expert Clara Mulder told the paper she would be surprised if there is a real baby boom, and that roughly four in five pregnancies in the Netherlands are planned.

‘Coronavirus brings economic uncertainties and people are worried about losing their jobs,’ she said. ‘This [a baby boom] would go against all ideas about how people react in difficult times.’

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