Cape Town – While most countries have recently reported a drop in birth rates, hospitals in New Zealand say they have noted an increase in activity in their maternity wards following lockdown.
With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, many social media enthusiasts predicted a baby boom, floating the theory that there are only so many series and movies you can watch and that all the free time at home would spark the passion.
Others predicted the Covid-19 baby boom would be similar to the period after the Second World War when soldiers returned home.
However, the pandemic has had the opposite effect and brought about the stresses of having to juggle work, home-schooling and various psychological challenges from being cooped up.
But New Zealand’s swift reaction to the pandemic and its initial brief lockdown, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced during a press conference on March 23, 2020, allowed couples to reconnect.
According to the New Zealand Herald newspaper, there has been a 44% increase in the number of women in their maternity wards since last year. Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, which recorded a daily average of 34 new patients between December 2019 and January 2020, has seen that number rise to 49 patients.
“Often you have ups and downs, but recently it’s felt constantly busy,” Dr Sarah Corbett from Middlemore Hospital told the Herald recently.
“We’ve been saying ’what’s going on, why is it so busy’ and then we calculated it and realised it has been nine months since the start of lockdown,” she said.
Meanwhile, the research group Brookings Institution reported that there would be around 300 000 fewer births in 2021, and research from Italian academics who surveyed under-35s in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK found that Europe is set for a baby bust.
African News Agency (ANA)