Most Americans are living under extended stay-at-home orders right now as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Because so many people are stuck at home with little to occupy their time, people began speculating and joking that we might expect a spike in the birthrate in nine months.
Although it’s a funny idea, many experts agree that boredom and being isolated at home with a significant other do not correlate to more pregnancies. In fact, the anxiety people are feeling at this moment will have the opposite effect.
The baby boom jokes started shortly after the stay-at-home orders were issued.
If there's a baby boom in 9 months, it'll consist entirely of first-born children.— Winston Chang (@winston_chang) March 24, 2020
People online began joking about the prospect of a baby boom as a result of coronavirus quarantines and social distancing.
… Coming in 9 months … Corona Kids!!!#CoronaBoom— Coby Greer Music (@CobyGreerMusic) April 5, 2020
The hashtags #babyboom and #coronaboom exploded with jokes about an impending baby boom and the expectation of “corona kids.”
Y’all know what I just realized?— Shawnté “Stay Home” James, MD ???? (@ShawnteJamesMD) March 13, 2020
In December 2020, all of our newborn nurseries are gonna be full to the brim with perfectly adorable chubby snuggie wubbie widdle BABIES!!!!!
Is it too soon to be a little excited about this – because…I kinda need a little happy. pic.twitter.com/oS3W7PgNle
While it’s tempting to imagine this health crisis resulting in a bunch of babies, experts agree that it’s unlikely that we’ll see a baby boom in nine months. We all just want a little hope.
Most experts agree that we shouldn’t expect to see a baby boom and in fact, we should anticipate the opposite.
There are several reasons why the pandemic won’t result in a baby “blip” or baby boom. One University of Wisconsin Professor summed up why: “People are freaking out.”
Dr. Christine B. Whelan a clinical professor in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison told Today Parents, “Couples are in bed at night on their phones, scrolling through the CNN or New York Times newsfeeds checking various infection and death totals. That’s not conducive to ‘sexytime.'”
For parents at home with their existing children, it might be even less plausible.
For parents tasked with extra responsibilities like schooling and caring for kids every minute of every single day while schools and daycares are closed, they’re feeling less ‘in the mood.’
Whelan explains, “They’re exhausted.”
This is particularly true when it comes to mothers who bear the additional brunt of the moment. Mothers are taking on more childcare, professional, and emotional responsibilities during the pandemic.
“Even though men have certainly stepped up to the plate, whenever there’s extra work to be done, it tends to fall on moms because we’re caregivers and we want to make sure that everyone is happy,” psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig explained.
“Women really do take on that dual role even when they’re working outside of the house and especially when they’re in the house. It’s like the 1950s meets 2020.”
Mom’s aren’t necessarily itching for more responsibility right now.
“We’re not sleeping well. We’re having anxiety dreams. A lot of people are unemployed. All this existential angst does not add up,” Whelan said, to baby-making.
She noted that 45% of births are attributed to unmarried couples and a majority of those births still come from cohabitating couples hunkered down together just as they would be if they were married.
Whelan expects that the percentage of “unplanned” pregnancies will actually decrease because of social distancing and evolution.
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Apparently, people aren’t into sleeping with strangers during a pandemic.
“We have really interesting data on this,” Whelan said. “In times of infection, we are really programmed not to go out and have sex with a stranger. Our bodies actually tell us not to go do that.”
The economy is another huge factor when it comes to an increase in the birthrate.
University of Maryland economics professor and Brookings senior fellow Melissa Kearney explained that economics will play a large role in the future birthrate.
Kearney said that the key factor to birthrate is that it’s “pro-cyclical.” Meaning that when unemployment is low and wages are high, the number of babies born increases. The pandemic is shocking the economy right now and it “will lead to a decline in births,” possibly for years to come.
So, while we might have cracked jokes at the beginning of the pandemic about a surge of new pregnancies and births, in reality, it will likely be the opposite.
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 1 The baby boom jokes started shortly after the stay-at-home orders were issued.
- 2 Most experts agree that we shouldn’t expect to see a baby boom and in fact, we should anticipate the opposite.
- 3 For parents at home with their existing children, it might be even less plausible.
- 4 Mom’s aren’t necessarily itching for more responsibility right now.
- 5 Apparently, people aren’t into sleeping with strangers during a pandemic.
- 6 The economy is another huge factor when it comes to an increase in the birthrate.
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