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'Workplace pregnancy is contagious': study

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 22 Mar 2010, 16:27

Published: 22 Mar 2010 16:27 GMT+01:00

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If a woman at a workplace becomes pregnant, the chance of other colleagues becoming pregnant within 13 to 24 months increases by 10 percent, according to the study of birth patterns by Uppsala University researchers Lena Hensvik and Peter Nilsson.

A common explanation for variations in birthrates is the economic cycle, with more children born in upswings and fewer during recession. But changes occur so fast that the researchers sought further explanations, and they argue that their findings support the contention that the contagion effect is one of them.

"A great many things affect the timing of having children, with the most important being discussions within the family. The actions of people in their surroundings also constitute an important factor," Peter Nilsson told news agency TT.

Education is also found to be a factor affecting the decision to have children, with some groups more inspiring than others.

Women with lower levels of education are influenced by colleagues with both higher and equivalent levels, while more highly educated women are not affected by those with lesser qualifications. This group is however influenced by female colleagues holding equivalent levels of education.

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Expectant fathers were found to have no effect on females in the workplace. A future study will look at whether there is a contagion effect between male colleagues.

The Hensvik/Nilsson study was based on information from 150,000 women employed at Swedish workplaces with fewer that 50 staff from 1997-2004.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:28 March 22, 2010 by BravoTango
Tell us something that we didn't know before. I hope that public funds were not used to bankroll this useless research. Anyone who has ever worked will tell you that conclusion without expenditure.
20:03 March 22, 2010 by wxman
Of course it is. And we need to stop that guy now!
00:02 March 23, 2010 by stoffer
Shhhhh! Do not tell that to the neolibtards! This means that pregnant women make more of their woman human resources become pregnant and work less! The neolibtards would want all employees to work for third world salaries and without any labor laws. Down with neolibtards! (Disclaimer: I am not a communist. Down with communists also!)
00:31 March 23, 2010 by Frobobbles
When i see a photo of two round pregnant stomachs like that, it kind of make me think about boobies. Yet another example of how nature talks to man.
05:18 March 23, 2010 by mannorun
the one on the left is my wife's tommy. She made 5 of her female colleagues to get pregnant in just a single year. Can you imagine that..

09:06 March 23, 2010 by xavidx

haha. I seen boobs as well for the first couple of seconds.
11:46 March 23, 2010 by Marc the Texan
@mannorun - You wife made 5 female colleagues pregnant in a single year? That's one amazing wife.
13:56 March 23, 2010 by LailaC1
Pregnant women work less! Wow you are so ignorant Stoffer. Shame on you. If a woman works less it isn't becuase she is pregnant. it is becuase she is lazy. I think you should have been born 200 years ago with a statement like that.
13:26 March 25, 2010 by LundenLad
I might be wrong, but I heard a woman on maternity leave cannot be made redundant, so as a recession/redundancies approach, you would expect a surge in pregnancies.

Whatever, the country needs kids, just say thankyou to all those ladies doing a good job!
16:46 March 27, 2010 by Canada_Girl
stoffer = idiot.

I can honestly say that I've never had an urge to get pregnant when colleagues have been. I must be an anomaly. My colleagues and I have the same-ish credentials (mine are moderately higher), but their seeing them pregnant is not appealing at all.

Perhaps it's best that I don't have children. o.O
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