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Pregnancy is apparently contagious

Pregnancy is apparently contagious

Pregnancies are contagious to female colleagues, according to the results of a study by the scientists led by Prof. Henriette Engelhardt-Wölfler, head of the State Institute for Family Research at the University of Bamberg. The study analyzed data from more than 42,000 women from just under 7,600 companies.

It has long been known that certain behaviors are adopted by friends and acquaintances. The colloquially used term “peer pressure” describes this widespread phenomenon in a simple way. The scientists of the State Institute for Family Research at the University of Bamberg (ifb) have now in the study "Are births contagious? Fertility and Social Interaction at Work ”examines whether a woman's tendency to become pregnant for the first time increases after a colleague gives birth to a child. The analysis of the data from 1993 to 2007 showed "a clear contagion effect in the year after a colleague's birth event", write Engelhardt-Wölfler and colleagues. The tendency to become pregnant for the first time was almost twice as high during this period.

Interaction with pregnant colleagues strengthens the desire to have children According to the scientists of the State Institute for Family Research at the University of Bamberg, the current “results suggest that infectious fertility in the workplace is conveyed both in terms of needs and convictions.” This strengthens the interaction with the pregnant colleagues Engelhardt-Wölfler and colleagues explain that the desire to have children as well as self-confidence in the case of an existing desire to have children are explained to them and / or their newborn. “Almost all women are employed before the birth of their first child. The experience of how work colleagues successfully shape the transition to motherhood can inspire the desire to have children, ”Christine Haderthauer, Bavarian Family Minister, commented on the results of the study. The contagion effect was not only observed in the college after a pregnancy in the first year, but also in the following years - however, it turned out to be significantly less with increasing intervals. The contagion effect of pregnancy was highest among colleagues who were approximately the same age (age difference of a maximum of two years).

Pregnancy as a chain reaction among colleagues The current study shows that "working women who choose to have a child can cause a kind of chain reaction among their colleagues," report the scientists at the State Institute for Family Research. In their work, they see an important contribution to the discussion about the low birth rate in Germany and the contagion effects of pregnancies in various networks, such as the family, friends or at work. According to the researchers, a better understanding of these contagion effects in the different networks offers a promising approach to significantly increase birth rates in the future. “Social policy measures that aim to better reconcile work and family life could develop particularly strong potential to stimulate fertility due to such social multiplication effects,” write Engelhardt-Wölfler and colleagues. (fp)

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