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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 21 February, 2019

Office babies: Is pregnancy contagious?

A new study shows how pregnancy “spreads” quickly through offices.

Image: Randy Zhang via Creative Commons

A NEW SWEDISH study has found that female workers are more likely to take the plunge into parenthood if their colleagues have recently done the same.

The report entitled ‘Business, Buddies and Babies: Social Ties and Fertility at Work’, outlines how co-workers influence each others’ childbearing decisions.

The results are pretty eyecatching:

Individuals are on average 10.9% more likely to have their first child 13-24 month after the birth of  co-worker’s child.

And it goes on to explain:

Childbearing among co-workers who are of similar age, female co-workers and co-workers of the same parity are more influential.

By contrast, male workers welcoming a new addition to their home don’t seem to have the same effect on would-be mothers.

And, as always, a generous helping of good, old-fashioned snobbery comes into play; women are more likely to start poking around Mothercare if they see a woman of a similar educational level having children, over a woman who is less educated.

Interestingly, according to the study, it’s not just co-workers who can influence your decision to have a baby – even family members of colleagues can have an effect.

It seems all you have to do is overhear the news at the watercooler to catch baby fever.

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