THURSDAY, Sept. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Nearly half of mothers report they halted plans to have additional children because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online Sept. 15 in JAMA Network Open.

Linda G. Kahn, Ph.D., from the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues assessed changes in pregnancy intention following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis included 1,179 participants in the New York University Children’s Health and Environment Study who were currently pregnant or recently postpartum.

The researchers found that following the outbreak, 49.2 percent of women who had been actively trying to become pregnant ceased trying, with less than half thinking they would resume after the pandemic, while 37.2 percent of women who had been planning to become pregnant were no longer planning. Only 4.5 percent of women who were neither planning nor trying were newly considering pregnancy. Of those pre-COVID-19 planners/triers who stopped considering or attempting pregnancy, a greater proportion had lower educational levels (odds ratio [OR], 2.14; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.92 to 4.96), higher stress levels (OR, 1.09; 95 percent CI, 0.99 to 1.20), and greater financial insecurity (OR, 1.37; 95 percent CI, 0.97 to 1.92), although these differences were not statistically significant in a multivariable analysis. Additionally, women who stopped considering or attempting pregnancy were more likely to respond to the questionnaire during the peak of the outbreak (OR, 2.04; 95 percent CI, 1.01 to 4.11).

“These results emphasize the toll the coronavirus has taken not only on individual parents, but perhaps on fertility rates overall,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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