May 22, 2022

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Preliminary data from
the Office for National Statistics suggests
there may have been an uptick in babies conceived in England and Wales when
lockdown restrictions were first beginning to be eased in June 2020.

The
report shows a 1.7{2c7239c9a7a702744f50a2550e3a606796d212ac94bcade170c7080cb738bbda} increase in the monthly fertility rate in March
2021 compared with March 2020.

This
corresponds to an increase in conceptions occurring in summer 2020.

The
monthly fertility rate broadly reflects the number of babies born per 1,000
women of child-bearing age.

But annual trends since
2012 show overall fertility rates have been decreasing year on year.

And
2020 was no exception. There were 615,557 live births in England and Wales last
year- that is almost 4{2c7239c9a7a702744f50a2550e3a606796d212ac94bcade170c7080cb738bbda}
fewer than in 2019.

ONS
statistics also show there was no baby boom when the first lockdown was put in
place – with fertility rates in March 2020 lower than the same period in 2019.

The
report shows monthly stillbirth rates between March 2020 and March 2021 were
below the five-year average – with the exception of November 2020 and January
2021.

There
were 226 stillbirths recorded in January 2021, compared with 207 in January 2020.

ONS
statisticians say this could plausibly be down a range of variation expected
within these trends, but they point out the increase in January 2021 coincides
with the height of the second wave of the pandemic.

You can read more on the birth and deaths figures here.

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