Many US women say they want fewer children because of the coronavirus pandemic
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Crystal Cox / Business Insider
A third of women in the US say they are delaying pregnancy or want to have fewer children because of the coronavirus pandemic. This was the result of a new survey by the Guttmacher Institute among 2,000 people.
Minorities, low-income women, and queer women particularly often reported that their family planning goals had changed.
At the same time, some women have contraception problems, which could frustrate their new plans to delay pregnancy.
There are many reasons why women want or need to delay childbirth, but some experts fear that this could lead to a "demographic time bomb".
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While celebrities and many friends continue to announce pregnancies and births, many American women are doing the opposite: they are trying not to get pregnant, or not yet, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a survey of 2,000 sexually active Cisgender women conducted at the beginning of May, the organization for reproductive rights at the Guttmacher Institute found that 34% of those questioned wanted to delay pregnancy or have fewer children because of the pandemic.
Women in marginalized communities were particularly likely to report changes in plans. 44% of blacks, 48% of Latina, 46% of queers and 37% of low-income women said they had fewer children or later started their families.
"It is important that the pandemic exacerbates existing social inequalities by disproportionately affecting Hispanic and black women, queer women and poorer women," the survey authors write.
The survey also found that a third of women had difficulty accessing health services or birth control for women due to the pandemic. Again, percentages were higher in minority, queer, and low-income communities.
"These disruptions in the necessary care could lead to persistent barriers to receiving the desired contraceptives, an increase in pregnancies among women who wanted to avoid them, and delayed identification and treatment of cervical cancer and sexually transmitted diseases," the authors write . "All of these results have negative health, social and economic consequences."
There are many reasons why pregnancy and child rearing are less attractive or possible, but experts are concerned about the long-term effects
The desire to delay pregnancy or limit the size of a future family can be attributed to many factors, including lost jobs, closed health clinics, fears of coronavirus exposure in clinics that are or will be open, and the unknowns about it how the virus affects pregnancy women and their future children.
Haley Neidich, a Florida therapist, previously told insiders that she and her husband stopped getting pregnant in late March, partly due to the lack of personal support she would have if she became pregnant.
"Pregnancy is difficult, especially in the first trimester, and I need my support system here with my body to get through and still be a good mother to my daughter," she said.
Other women have told insiders they have to stop planning pregnancy attempts because they rely on fertility treatments that were unavailable or recommended for a stretch. This disorder also wrongly restricted same-sex couples who need fertility treatment to get pregnant.
Others may expect to age out of their reproductive window when they are ready to continue pregnancy, and some, including those who were pregnant at the time, told insiders they were concerned about having a child in such a turbulent time to bring the world.
"I feel less under control, more concerned with new data about infected infants and pregnant women, and more concerned with the state of our world and our country when the baby is born," said Jen Judson, a Washington reporter, DC, area, said before the birth of her son in late April.
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Experts say the trend could exacerbate another worrying trend: continually falling US birth rates, which some believe could lead to a "demographic time bomb" or if there aren't enough young people to cater to both the economy and the elderly support those who live on live longer.
Fewer babies were born in the U.S. in 2019 than in the past 35 years.
However, the effects of the coronavirus on birth control and access to abortion could outweigh these changes. Only time can tell.
"The decline due to COVID-19 could vary depending on the scale and severity of the crisis and the associated long-term uncertainty," said University of Pennsylvania fertility researcher Hans-Peter Kohler.
There are advantages to stopping pregnancy during the coronavirus pandemic. It's still up to you, experts say.
Couples are said to delay fertility treatment during the coronavirus pandemic. Some fear that they will miss the chance to have children.
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