A new large study from the Netherlands found fewer babies were born preterm during lockdown - this was also found in previous research from Ireland and Denmark.

The study published in the Lancet included data from 1.5 million babies born between 2010-2020. Over 56,000 babies were born after the Netherlands started lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic.

“We could see that this impact was real,” said Dr. Jasper Been, a neonatologist at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam and the study’s lead author. The reduction was from 15 to 23 percent, he said.

Why did this happen? This easy-to-understand article in the New York Times gives possible reasons, including that depending on economic circumstances, lockdown could have created less stress for expectant parents. But there is still many questions and much more research is needed to find out the answers.

Did you notice a smaller number of earlier births during lockdown where you live?

Easy-to-understand article about the research in the New York Times:

Scientific reference:

Impact of COVID-19 mitigation measures on the incidence of preterm birth: a national quasi-experimental study
Jasper V Been, Lizbeth Burgos Ochoa, Loes CM Bertens, Sam Schoenmakers, Eric AP Steegers, Irwin KM Reiss

medRxiv 2020.08.01.20160077; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.01.20160077