A curious increase in the number of babies born in September has led experts to conclude that the New Year festivities and the days surrounding them are when French people are most likely to conceive.

"/> A curious increase in the number of babies born in September has led experts to conclude that the New Year festivities and the days surrounding them are when French people are most likely to conceive.

" />
SHARE
COPY LINK

HEALTH

France limbers up for baby-making week

A curious increase in the number of babies born in September has led experts to conclude that the New Year festivities and the days surrounding them are when French people are most likely to conceive.

France limbers up for baby-making week
Justyna Furmanczyk

Daily newspaper Le Parisien reports that twice as many children are born in France on September 23rd than on other days.

Using some simple mathematics to count backwards the average 265 days of a pregnancy leads to January 1st.

“There is a New Year’s Eve effect,” said Arnaud Régnier-Lollier, a researcher at the national institute of demographic studies (INED), who identified the sudden jump in births.

“Couples tend to be together on that evening and more likely to let their hair down,” he told the newspaper. “But there’s also, without doubt, an increase in unplanned pregnancies as a result of people paying less attention to contraception due to partying.”

The accompanying statistics showing an increase in abortions during January and February could support this theory.

The increase in births in September marks a change from the traditional high point seen in May during the 1970s and 1980s. Indeed, a quarter of women still think of May as the best time to give birth, while only 2 percent prefer September, says Arnaud Régnier-Lollier.

He believes another factor is at work. As couples wait longer to have children, they may not conceive as quickly, even if they hope to have a child earlier in the year.

“It’s possible that couples, who are starting to have babies much later in life, stop using contraception in August, but don’t manage to conceive until four months later,” he said.

twitter.com/matthew_warren

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

HEALTH

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25

Free birth control for all women under 25 will be available in France from Saturday, expanding a scheme targeting under-18s to ensure young women don't stop taking contraception because they cannot afford it.

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25
A doctor holds an interuterine contraceptive device (IUD) before inserting it in a patient. Photo: Adek Berry/AFP

The scheme, which could benefit three million women, covers the pill, IUDs, contraceptive patches and other methods composed of steroid hormones. Contraception for minors was already free in France.

Several European countries, including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, make contraception free for teens. Britain makes several forms of contraception free to all.

France announced the extension to women under 25 in September, saying surveys showed a decline in the use of contraception mainly for financial reasons.

The move is part of a series of measures taken by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to boost women’s rights and alleviate youth poverty. The free provision is supported by women’s groups including the association En Avant Tous.

“Between 18 and 25-years-old, women are very vulnerable because they lose a lot of rights compared to when they were minors and are very precarious economically,” spokeswoman Louise Delavier told AFP.

Leslie Fonquerne, an expert in gender issues, said there was more to be done.

“This measure in no way resolves the imbalance in the contraceptive burden between women and men,” the sociologist said.

In some developed countries, the free contraception won by women after decades of campaigning is coming under attack again from the religious right.

In the United States, former president Barack Obama’s signature health reform, known as Obamacare, gave most people with health insurance free access to birth control.

But his successor Donald Trump scrapped the measure, allowing employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage on religious grounds — a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2020.

Poland’s conservative government has also heavily restricted access to emergency contraception as part of its war on birth control.

SHOW COMMENTS