Modeling the impact of COVID on pregnancy and birth trends

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There may be a different type of increase over a year towards the pandemic: an increase in the baby.

Stopping COVID-19 initially appeared to stop during pregnancy and , suggest new research into a major hospital system, but this trend is rapidly reversing.

“Birth rates dropped at the beginning of the pandemic, but we expect a dramatic rebound soon,” says lead author Molly Stout, MD, MSci, director of maternal fetal medicine at Michigan Women’s Medicine Hospital Von Voigtlander.

“We’re already seeing signs of a baby summer hike.”

Although infectious disease experts have been modeling COVID cases to project growth trends, Stout and his team have been doing the same for pregnancy trends.

Using for a cohort of pregnancies at Michigan Medicine, the researchers were able to model pregnancy episodes and accurately project predicted changes in pregnancy volumes over the past year during pandemic social changes.

Pregnancies at UM gradually increased between 2017 and 2020, going from 4,100 pregnancies to 4,620 a year, according to the study in JAMA network open. But volumes diverged from this pattern, decreasing by approximately 14% between November 2020 and the spring of 2021, which researchers associate with a design window that began during the U.S. COVID shutdown in March 2020 .

Experts point to multiple potential factors for the decline, such as economic uncertainty, lack of childcare or routine support systems, the impact on women in the workforce, and the postponement of reproductive care. and fertility.

Based on the same modeling system, the authors now predict an increase in birth rates. The hospital expects a 10-15% increase in births compared to what was normally expected in the summer and fall of 2021.

Although speculation about a baby boom COVID has previously been reported, they were mostly speculative and not data-driven, Stout says.

“What we have shown here is that by modeling pregnancies within a health care system we can project birth rate increases and decreases associated with major changes in society,” she says.

“Major social changes certainly seem to influence reproductive choices, and fertility rates. We typically see the effects by modeling birth and mortality rates, only as changes occur. With this methodology we can accurately project the expected birth rates before the actual changes. “

This has also been observed at other times in history, such as the 1918 H1N1 flu pandemic, the Great Depression in 1929, and the 2008 recession.

Stout says the ability to predict the next Trends through the Michigan team modeling system can help health systems better plan birth and delivery needs to provide safer care for patients and their babies.

“These projection techniques can inform capacity planning, staffing needs, and other subsequent effects on the hospital system,” he says.

“But it can also be used in partnerships between hospitals and government groups to better understand population dynamics and help minimize the negative effects of a pandemic or any other major event on society.”


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More information:
Molly J. Stout et al, Use of electronic medical records to estimate changes in pregnancy and birth rates during the COVID-19 pandemic, JAMA network open (2021). DOI: 10.1001 / jamanetworkopen.2021.11621

Citation: Modeling the impact of COVID on pregnancy and birth trends (2021, June 3) retrieved June 3, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-covid-impact -pregnancy-birth-trends.html

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