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Are more babies being born in Germany amid the pandemic?

Experts believe that the coronavirus pandemic has influenced many couples’ sex lives. But does this mean that a baby boom is on the horizon in Germany?

Are more babies being born in Germany amid the pandemic?
The pandemic has led to couples having more sex, but will a baby boom follow? Photo: DPA

Postponed holiday plans, cancelled concerts and no chance of parties: it should come as no surprise that many couples are turning to other pastimes to keep entertained.

Wolfgang Krüger, author and psychotherapist, believes couples are having more sex. But will this lead to more babies being born toward the end of the year?

According to the Professional Association of Gynecologists (BVF), between 770,000 and 800,000 children are born every year in Germany. That equates to roughly eight new pregnant women a month in every doctor’s practice. 

A post-pandemic baby boom?

It is conceivable that there will be a small increase in the number of new pregnancies this year. 

“It could be that some couples who have been considering children have taken advantage of all this extra free time to give it a try”, said BVF president Christian Albring. 

READ ALSO: What's the advice for sex and dating in Germany during the coronavirus crisis?

But such an increase, if there is one at all, would most likely be lower than 10 percent. Albring suggests that many people have also run into financial difficulty because of the pandemic, which may have led them to postpone their plans for children.

Doctors say that it is still far too early to make any concrete statements about the impact of the pandemic on pregnancy numbers. 

But thus far most experts seem to agree that the pandemic won’t cause a ‘baby boom’ in Germany. 

Caring for pregnant mothers has become more challenging due to pandemic restrictions. Photo: DPA

Baby-product manufacturers have come to similar conclusions. “Both we as manufacturers, as well as specialist retailers we supply, are experiencing no swell in demand due to the pandemic”, said Monika Holhut from the pram manufacturer Gesslein. 

According to data from the company myToys, online demand has gone up in recent months . However, this is more likely to be due to a general shift toward online retail than to increased birth rates, said spokeswoman Katrin Schäkel.

A difficult time to be pregnant

“This pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty for everyone. It’s not the case that couples are suddenly having more children”, explained Kathrin Herold, chairwoman of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Midwives Association.

Her Bavarian colleague, Mechthild Hofner, sees it the same way. On the one hand, she does believe that there will be no decline in the birth rate. 

READ ALSO: REVEALED: German children less satisfied with life than those in other countries

“But our midwives have not noticed a significant increase in registrations for birth preparation courses either.” The same is the case in Brandenburg and Lower Saxony.

Some medical practices have even recorded a decrease in the number of pregnant women registering for such courses. 

“The women have to wear a mask and socially distance whilst doing breathing exercises”, said Christine Zinsler, a midwife from Munich. As a result many course bookings have been cancelled.

Even if the number of pregnancies during the Corona crisis hasn’t increased according to the doctors and midwives, Berlin relationship expert Krüger believes that Germans are definitely having more sex.

“More time in close proximity, combined with a general sense of fear and uncertainty will definitely stimulate more intimacy”, said Krüger. But whether that will lead to more babies being born is harder to say. 

“We do know that people are having more sex. Whether they are using contraception is something I’d rather not ask”, laughs Krüger.

Translated by Eve Bennett.

 

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CULTURE

‘People liked the silence’: How Berlin’s club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Berlin's clubs are suffering from staff shortages, a lack of guests... and neighbours who've grown used to the silence, representatives for the scene say.

'People liked the silence': How Berlin's club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Some operators from Berlin’s club scene are bracing themselves for a difficult autumn. For months now, people have been allowed to dance again and life has returned to normal in the dark corners of Berlin’s famous nightlife scene.

But the clubs have far from recovered from the pandemic. They face staff shortages, rising prices and the prospect of a return to Covid restrictions in the autumn.

“We go into the autumn with huge fear, because the omens are totally unfavorable,” said association head Pamela Schobeß.

Spring and summer went anything but smoothly, she said. “There has been an oversupply of events. People aren’t going out as much, and some are still afraid to move around indoors.”

Money is also an issue. “A lot of people are afraid of rising energy prices.”

The industry lost workers during the pandemic and it’s hard to convince them to come back with the outlook for the autumn looking so gloomy, Schobeß says.

Her colleague Robin Schellenberg tells a similar story. People have switched to various other jobs and would even rather work on a supermarket checkout, which may have been considered less sexy in the past. Now, he says, some have learned to love not having to work nights.

READ ALSO: 

Schellenberg runs the Klunkerkranich, a small club on a parking garage deck in Neukölln. Because a number of things have become more expensive, they have also had to increase their admission prices.

His impression is that people are going out less often and are deciding more spontaneously. In addition, people in the neighborhood are now more sensitive to noise. “Many people found the silence very enticing,” he said.

Some in the industry wonder what will happen next. Will club admission have to become much more expensive? Will that exclude people who can no longer afford it? And what happens if Covid infection numbers rise sharply?

If masks become mandatory indoors in October, Schobeß believes that would be bad for the clubs. “Even if we don’t get shut down by the state, we’ll actually have to close down independently ourselves,” she reckons.

Masks take all the joy out of the experience, she says. People have drinks in their hands and are “jumping around and dancing” and then security guards have to tell them “please put your mask on.”

The federal government is considering whether states should be able to make masks mandatory indoors starting in October. Exceptions should be possible, such as at cultural and sporting events, for people who have been tested, recently vaccinated and recently recovered.

In the event that Covid numbers soar, the states could then be allowed to tighten the rules and eliminate all exemptions.

READ ALSO: German court declares techno to be music

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