Hospitals will be bracing themselves for a spike in births in nine months’ time as South Africa is hit by a veritable trifecta of special baby-making circumstances this week.
Life St George’s Hospital spokeswoman Natalie Henman said the effect of big events on the birth rate at the hospital was monitored – and it was also clear what people got up to during loadshedding.
“The last time we had extensive load-shedding there was a marked increase in births nine months later,” she said.
“This time round we will be watching the number of babies born in November carefully, as Port Elizabeth as we are having load-shedding, the release of the movie 50 Shades of Grey and Valentine’s Day all in the same week!” she laughed.
The hospital yesterday spoiled little ones with strawberry sleeping bags embroidered “My Berry First Valentine”.
In 2013, economists from the London School of Economics studied the effects of power rationing (as load-shedding is known over there), and found that it increased the probability of a woman’s falling pregnant by 4% and that this rises if there are rolling blackouts over a longer period.