The saying ‘ok boomer’ may take on a new meaning as we give birth to a new generation of ‘coronababies’.
After World War II, there was a baby boom as the world settled back into normal life, defining the generation.
And now amid the current coronavirus pandemic, we may be seeing the same trend.
There could be a surge in the number of babies born in the UK as a result of the lockdown.
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 be having more sex, leading to more babies, planned or unplanned.
So come December, we may see many more babies in the maternity ward.
The health minister recently tweeted: ‘As the minister responsible for maternity services, I’m just wondering how busy we are going to be, nine months from now.’
But health experts said it’s vital that contraceptive services still be accessed during the lockdown.
Clare Murphy, director of external affairs at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service explained to PA: ‘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.’
But because times are precarious, pregnancies may be difficult for couples experiencing financial strain under lockdown and after it’s over.
‘For some couples an unplanned pregnancy at this time will be a happy accident, mistimed but a welcome addition,’ adds Clare.
‘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.’
What have birth control apps noticed during lockdown?
Birth control app Natural Cycles says the lockdown has caused the opposite effect – they don’t think there will be a baby boom at all.
According to co-founder and CEO Elina Berglund, people are changing how they use the app.
‘The last few weeks we have been seeing changes in how our users use the app as the situation in the world is rapidly changing due to the new coronavirus,’ she says.
The changes do not signal a baby boom, in fact – the opposite.
According to Elina:
- For ‘prevent’ users using the app as birth control, the sex rate is stable, with no increase or decrease seen so far.
- For ‘plan’ users using the app to plan a pregnancy, we are seeing a 2% reduction in week-over-week sex data.
- The rate of users switching the mode in the app from ‘prevent’ to ‘plan’ a pregnancy is decreasing by 3% week-over-week.
So what is increasing? More users are taking their temperature.
Elina adds: ‘Our users are becoming more diligent of measuring their temperature. We see a 2% week-over-week increase and looking at the days of the week – the last weekend had 11% more users entering temperature than the previous weekend.’
Recently, there was also concerning news that there may be a global shortage of condoms due to the countries they are manufactured in.
Now more than ever, contraception services need to be available.
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.’
Only time will tell whether we will see a new generation of ‘coronababies’. It may be too early to make any conclusive predictions.
If we do, it’ll certainly be interesting to see the traits that define the generation.