Preterm Births Decreased During Pandemic Lockdowns

FRIDAY, Oct. 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A series of studies show that preterm births have decreased during lockdowns to control the coronavirus pandemic, and researchers are trying to determine why.

A large study from the Netherlands found that preterm births fell 15-23% after March 9, when the government started urging people to follow more social distancing measures and to stay home if they had symptoms or possible exposures to the virus. Within the next week, schools and workplaces began to close down, The New York Times reported.

The study was published Oct. 13 in The Lancet Public Health medical journal.

Two studies from Ireland and Denmark found that declines in preterm births in the spring during lockdowns, and there are anecdotal reports from doctors worldwide about decreases in preterm births, The Times reported.

Some experts suggest that better hygiene, cleaner air and reduced stress on mothers during lockdowns may be factors in falling preterm birth rates.

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