According to researchers, government policies that significantly reduce a family’s income may be responsible for a drop in the birth rate, and may even cause a pregnant woman to lose her baby.
The Romanian-based study examined the birth outcomes of women who were pregnant when severe government cuts in wages and childcare allowances were implemented in May 2010, and compared them with births in 2009.
The researchers discovered exactly nine months after the financial changes were put in place, the number of live births dropped to 13,844, the lowest number ever recorded.
The number of boys born also dropped, which the authors say suggest the “significant shock in gestation preponderantly selects against frail male foetuses”. Previous studies have indicated female foetuses are more likely to survive severe gestational stress than males.
The research may be relevant to UK families as the country prepares itself for government-instigated changes to the welfare system.
Co-authors of the study economists Dr Bejenariu and Dr Mitrut said: “The effects of the Great Recession may be more far reaching than initially thought.
“In light of our study and continued social unrest over austerity measures in Europe, policy-makers should consider that unexpected policy changes may act as sufficiently severe stressors with unexpected or unintended consequences.”
We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this story, please share them with the Direct2Mum family below