The number of premature births during the corona crisis decreased by around 20 percent NOW

The number of premature births has fallen by 15 to 23 percent since the basic rules were announced on March 9. This emerged from data research by Erasmus MC on Wednesday. Further research is needed to determine the cause of the decline.

The Rotterdam hospital examined data from more than one and a half million babies born between October 2010 and July 2020. Research is carried out in an international context, says neonatologist-epidemiologist Jasper Been in an interview with NU.nl. More than 40 countries joined the study.

On March 9th, the Dutch were asked to stop shaking hands and wash their hands more often. Bone and co-researcher Irwin Reiss believe the number of premature births may have decreased due to better hand hygiene and no handshaking. “New detailed research should confirm these results,” said Been.

The partial lockdown announced on March 15 would have had less of an impact as pregnant women were cautious anyway, the health experts argue.

“We expected an even bigger decline due to the lockdown, but it didn’t materialize. After March 9th, we identified the biggest impact and then gradually continued,” said Been.

The couple hope research will show that external factors play a role in premature birth. “If we understand the causes, we may be able to do more later to prevent premature births,” said Reiss.

It is not clear when the major international investigation will be completed. I was hoping to be able to present the first results within a few months.