It’s almost like clockwork. Nine months after folks are forced to hunker down and ride out a natural disaster, the birth rate suddenly spikes. Whether it’s the boredom — there’s only so much Scrabble to play or episodes of The Office to watch — or the sense of impending doom, there’s something about these situations that makes people do what comes naturally.
The question, in the age of COVID-19, is if a global pandemic will have the same effect. Will there be an army of Sagittariuses born at the end of the year, conceived while their parents were supposed to be working from home? It sounds completely plausible, but it’s hard to prove with a high degree of certainty.
This is according to Dr. Michael Cackovic, a maternal-fetal medicine physician at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
“There are certainly tons of anecdotal reports of increased fecundity or fertility after events forcing people to stay at home. Scientific reports, however, have been mixed in an effort to confirm the phenomenon,” he told Romper.
Cackovic says “the human response to loss, disruption in access to family planning and of course, increased sexual activity from being confined to home” could all contribute to people getting pregnant during a disaster. In other words, being sad, running out of condoms, and just not having anywhere to go adds up to more babies.
But even if there was consistent scientific evidence that events like hurricanes and blizzards — or rather the forced inside time that comes with them — causes baby booms, it might not be applicable to the current situation. After all, you could walk outside right now without getting covered in snow or hit with a piece of flying debris; indeed, millions of people who can’t work from home are at work right now. So while COVID-19 is very dangerous, it’s a stealthier and less sexy danger that might not translate into as many babies.
Still, cabin fever is a powerful force, and it wouldn’t be surprisng if there was an uptick in births in nine months. It just also wouldn’t be surprising if there wasn’t.