Coronavirus baby boom another curve that could be flattened

Family planning providers around the country are taking steps to help prevent a boom in pregnancies due to coronavirus self-isolation

PORTLAND, Maine -- Millions of romantic partners, cooped up together for weeks or months, with little to do other than watch reruns and play board games. A recipe for a baby boom, right?

Not so fast, say America's family planning providers. They're fine with folks dimming the lights, but they also want to dim any hopes of a population spike.

Other family planning nonprofits elsewhere across the country are taking similar steps, Maine Family Planning vice president of program services Evelyn Kieltyka said.

“We wanted to accommodate our patients. For women and families, there's already enough anxiety, so the idea that you can't get access to birth control is just too much,” he said.

Unexpected population-wide stretches of isolation at home sometimes results in a boom in births nine months later. Such a bump happened in Maine and New Hampshire after the 1998 ice storm that shut down parts of the Northeast.

Services offered by providers weren't limited to just birth control pills, either. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania alerted patients via its website that birth control patches and the NuvaRing were also available via online appointments. The organization, like many health care providers, was instructing patients with symptoms of coronavirus to use the online services or reschedule appointments.

Maine Family Planning and other family planning providers are also stepping up efforts to offer more tele-health services and provide more birth control via mail.

Since no one knows how long the shutdown will last, MFP and other providers are continuing to monitor the situation. Otherwise, the future could involve more baby monitors.