A paper in joint research with Associate Professor Midori Matsushima at the University of Tsukuba has been published online in the Journal of Biosocial Science.
A research group led by Associate Professor Midori Matsushima, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba, and Professor Naoki Kondo examined the association between the COVID-19 pandemic and pregnancy postponement.
This study analyzed data on 768 women with the intention to become pregnant from The Japan COVID-19 and Society Internet Survey (JACSIS) conducted in 2020 and 2021, and found that approximately 20% of the women postponed pregnancy. Furthermore, the reason for this was not fear or anxiety about COVID-19 infection, but rather reduced income and anxiety towards future household finances due to the COVID-19, and the impact of this was particularly strong in 2021.
The results of this study showed that social factors affect the pregnancy decisions of those who wish to become pregnant, suggesting that it is important to promote the elimination of economic insecurity even after this pandemic is over.
Midori Matsushima, Hiroyuki Yamada, Naoki Kondo, Yuki Arakawa, Takahiro Tabuchi. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pregnancy postponement – evidence from Japan. Journal of Biosocial Science,11 January 2023.
Japan has faced a decline in fertility since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This study aimed to investigate the rate of pregnancy postponement and its contributing factors, with a particular focus on economic- and COVID-19 infection-related indicators. This study used data from 768 observations of married women aged 18 to 50 years with pregnancy intentions. The data were obtained from two rounds of a large web-based survey conducted by the Japan COVID-19 and Society Internet Survey (JACSIS) in 2020 and 2021. A generalised estimating equation (GEE) model was employed, as well as Poisson regression models for sub-sample analysis divided by year to estimate the year differential magnitude of the contributing factors’ impacts. Approximately 20% of married women with childbearing intentions postponed their childbearing. The analyses revealed that declining income and anxiety about future household finances were significantly related to delayed childbearing, while fear of COVID-19 and infection rate were not. Additionally, the adverse effects of unfavourable economic conditions were stronger in 2021. Notably, age did not influence the decision of pregnancy postponement. Older women postponed pregnancy just as much as younger women. In conclusion, this study revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly its related adverse economic conditions, contributed to Japan’s current baby bust. Considering that advanced maternal age is already common in Japan, this decreased fertility may result in the long-term negative consequence of further population decline.
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