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French maternity wards prepare for busiest day

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French maternity wards prepare for busiest day
France's maternity wards will be able to cope with the increase of expecting mothers, according to INED. Newborn baby photo: Shutterstock
12:00 CEST+02:00
More French babies will be brought into the world this Tuesday than on any other day this year, according to a new study, with experts attributing the phenomenon to something special that happens around the new year.

September 23rd is the busiest day in France’s maternity wards, according to a new study, the news website 20 Minutes reported on Tuesday.

But the phenomenon is nothing new, according to Arnaud Régnier-Loilier, a researcher at the National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) which conducted the study.

“The peak in births around September 23rd is a phenomenon that is recorded every year, including in other countries. So there is no reason for this [statistic] to change this year,” Régnier-Loilier said, according to French paper 20 Minutes.

According to the institute, the main reason behind this rise in births is the increased sexual activity around the new year, with lots of couples deciding to start a new family. 

However, for a majority of new parents these pregnancies may simply be down to too much champagne, with Régnier-Loilier noting a decrease in “contraceptive vigilance” and an increase in abortions around that period. 

But France’s maternity wards will be able to cope with the influx of expecting mothers, according to INED.

“The annual peak in births lasts one week around September 23rd and is quite modest with just eight percent more births than on other weeks of the year,” said Régnier-Loilier.

“This surplus of births does not affect all maternity wards and normally means just one or two more births per institution.”

Whatever the cause, France officials are glad to see a busy day for babies.

The French are second only to the Irish for the crown of top baby maker in France, but things are changing. Last year the birthrate fell below the symbolic level of two children per woman.

It's slightly worrying for a country that invests a lot of money on daycare, new parent support and direct payments to families for child-related expenses. However officials believe the fall could be influence by the country's moribund economy.

Baby trends are also changing in France, with more mother having babies later in life as they focus on their careers and individual goals. Last year women in their late 30s gave birth to more of France's annual crop of babies than at anytime since at least the 1940s. 

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