If you’ve been pregnant before, you might’ve noticed throughout your pregnancy that everybody seems to be pregnant around you.
We’ve always put it down to being more aware - like the way you always see the car you’re thinking of buying on the road - but there’s actually some science behind this.
Pregnancies are “contagious” between people in the workplace and siblings within families, new research by the University of Cologne has found.
The study revealed that if one person in the workplace announces that they’re expecting, the chances of further pregnancies in the office increases.
Although its a physical change, it’s more likely a mental shift that increases the likelihood of future pregnancies. Seeing a loved one or work colleague pregnant might re-ignite your own desires to become a mother or give you the confidence that you’re ready to be a mum yourself.
You don’t have to be in close proximity to the person either. The study uncovered that there’s a chance that learning that somebody is pregnant via social media could trigger the same reaction.
Perhaps that’s why it seems a flurry on Facebook pregnancy announcements always seem to come in one go. The same could be said for engagement posts.
“We suspect that this kind of effect happens in the workplace primarily due to social learning; colleagues may influence each other’s fertility decisions because they can learn from them about the consequences of becoming a parent, and how parenthood influences work and family life,” says lead scientist, Professor Leopold.
That may also account for the challenges that the first mum in a friendship group faces, given that she has no support network to lean on until subsequent babies are born.
This study works both ways, too.
If you come from a family who haven’t had many children or your workplace colleagues aren’t pregnant, you might not get the urge to procreate in the same way that somebody surrounded by pregnant women might.
It makes sense - people don’t know what they’re missing, or not missing, if they don’t have people around them going through similar life situations as them.
Without the contagion effects, the number of pregnancies in the workplace would drop by 5.8% if other colleagues weren’t pregnant.
If a sibling wasn’t pregnant, the chances of you making the decision to have a baby would also drop by 1.5%.