Monday, March 1, 2021

Virus-induced baby boom more likely to be baby bust, says doctor

Specialist Dr John Teo plays down expectations of an increase in birth rate brought on by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Other News

‘Jangan potong barisan’, kata Khairy

Kes potong barisan masih berlaku walaupun tarikh dan masa tertentu sudah ditetapkan kerajaan.

Hala tuju kerajaan jelas untuk pulihkan ekonomi, kata menteri

Ka Siong berkata hala tuju perdana menteri itu perlu dilaksanakan dengan segera.

Get back in line, Khairy warns after cases of politicians cutting vaccine queue

He says his ministry will recommend that the health ministry slap compounds on those who flout the rules.

Pengarah syarikat didakwa songlap RM603,000 wang syarikat

Mahkamah membenarkan tertuduh diikat jamin RM20,000 dengan seorang penjamin.

Terlibat Macau Scam, 31 polis bakal dihukum

Mereka dirujuk ke pihak Suruhanjaya Pasukan Polis (SPP) untuk tindakan seterusnya.

Anecdotal health reports appear to have thrown a spanner in the works of theories that the recent lockdown which confined everyone except those on the front line and in essential services to their homes would result in an increase in birth rate.

On the contrary, Dr John Teo, a specialist in obstetrics, believes the movement control order (MCO), first implemented on March 18 to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country, will have the opposite effect.

Instead of a baby boom, he is expecting a baby bust.

In the first place, he said, many couples were in fact separated during the lockdown which, in its initial phase, saw restrictions on interstate travel.

It wasn’t until May 10, nearly two months into the MCO period, that spouses living apart in different states were allowed to meet.

He also noted reports of high anxiety levels in many families due to the lockdown which led to financial concerns and loss of jobs for scores of people.

“This is not the best way to boost fertility,” he told MalaysiaNow, adding that intimate relations between spouses best take place when couples are feeling calm and in a stress-free environment.

Previous reports had surmised that Malaysia would experience a spurt in birth rate within a year given the restrictions on movements mandated by the MCO.

The lockdown, which saw Malaysia’s borders and the majority of businesses closed, was supposed to end on March 31. However, it was extended several times until June 10 when what was termed the recovery phase of the MCO was put in place.

The RMCO was slated to end on Aug 31 but will now continue until year-end as reports of new Covid-19 cases persist.

Teo said economic problems coupled with the occurrence of natural disasters could cause families to rethink their plans for more children.

He gave the example of the US, where studies on the early effects of the pandemic found that up to 40% of women had decided to change their plans for more children.

However, he said any concrete data on the birth rate in relation to the MCO would probably be available only nine months to a year from now, once those who are pregnant have safely delivered.

He suggested that measures be taken to help couples with family planning, urging health authorities, government agencies and medical practitioners to play a role in the matter.

This includes ensuring access to a steady supply of birth control pills and shedding light on perceptions of using such methods.

“This will be key to achieving faster economic recovery and helping communities and families become stronger,” he said.

Malaysian Medical Association president Dr N Ganabaskaran agreed, saying a baby boom would be almost impossible as women were aware of their households’ economic situation.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic had tested not only the people’s finances but their family planning as well.

MalaysiaNow is attempting to determine from the health ministry the number of pregnant women registered at government and private hospitals since the MCO began.

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

Get back in line, Khairy warns after cases of politicians cutting vaccine queue

He says his ministry will recommend that the health ministry slap compounds on those who flout the rules.

PM says it again, polls once virus crisis is over

Muhyiddin Yassin says none of the provisions proclaimed under the emergency so far is aimed at keeping the prime minister in power forever.

Throw out your throwaway culture, green group urges global corporations

Saving the seas from single-use plastic can’t be done by consumers alone.

I have big support, Muhyiddin says as he marks first year as PM

He maintains that he still possesses majority support, rejecting accusations that the state of emergency was a ploy to remain in power.

2 PKR MPs quit, declare support for Muhyiddin in blow to party

The decision ends weeks of speculation about their frustration with PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim.