COVID-19: Worried about having a baby? It might actually be a good time to add to the family

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Dina Davidson and her colleagues have never been busier as midwives.

Her office is in Port Moody, and since January there seems to be a clear uptick in the number of deliveries, perhaps by 40 per cent, she said, quickly adding she’s obviously not a statistician.

“I don’t know what’s happening around the rest of the Lower Mainland, or anywhere else for that matter, but I can certainly say that in our little neck of the woods (there’s been a baby boom).”

But worldwide, instead of an expected baby boom — with couples spending more time cocooned at home — the trend has been fewer births overall, including in Canada, UBC lecturer Robyn Pitman said in a paper written in partnership with First Response, a company that makes at-home pregnancy-test kits.

“People were initially projecting that with the pandemic, ‘Oh, people are going to be at home, you’re going to have more time together in the same place,’” Pitman said.

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But maybe it’s an ideal time to have a baby.

Pitman’s area of expertise is family relations and human development. On top of lecturing and research, she is registered as a psychotherapist in Ontario, clinical counsellor in B.C., and marriage and family therapist with the Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Before COVID-19 there were many things that led to a decision to have children, such as financial stability.

“With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many couples have factored in a new consideration into their decision-making process: “Is it safe to get pregnant during the pandemic?” Pitman said. “Based on the opinions of medical professionals and the limited research available, the answer is yes: It is safe to get pregnant while taking precautions to protect against getting COVID-19.

“Rather than waiting for the right time to have a baby, why not explore if this is your time to have a baby?”

Some of the many things to consider, she said, are:

• What aspects of the new normal could benefit you, your family, and a future baby?

• How important are these on a scale of one (least important) to 10 (most important) in your decision-making process to have a future baby?

• What steps can you take to ensure these beneficial aspects of your life are maintained during and after the COVID-19 pandemic?

• Would you need help from family, friends, or an employer to ensure your family and future baby continue to experience these benefits?

Pitman’s crystal ball is no clearer than anyone else’s, of course. It’s hard to say what life will be like once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, how much will change and how much will return to pre-pandemic life.

“The last year has been a time of reflection and for some families, they might be re-evaluating family planning,” Pitman said. “Making the choice to have a baby is a personal choice that is influenced by different factors and information that are important to you and you alone in your decision-making process.”

gordmcintyre@postmedia.com

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