If your friends are getting pregnant, you're probably next - New York News

If your friends are getting pregnant, you're probably next

Updated:

By: Emily Hales, Deseret News

Women who were friends in high school have a high likelihood of getting pregnant around the same time.

A study published in the American Sociological Review titled "Does Fertility Behavior Spread among Friends?" found a link between strong social bonds and pregnancy. After female friends graduate, when one gets pregnant, the others have a window of time in which pregnancy is "contagious," and the probability of getting pregnant increases significantly.

"The study shows the contagion is particularly strong within a short window of time: It increases immediately after a high school friend gives birth, reaches a peak about two years later, and then decreases, becoming negligible in the long-run," co-author Nicoletta Balbo, a postdoctoral fellow at Italian Bocconi University said in the press release.

"Overall, this research demonstrates that fertility decisions are not only influenced by individual characteristics and preferences, but also by the social network in which individuals are embedded," she continued.

The authors of the study observed 1,700 American women over a 15-year span, starting from the age of 15 and ending when the women were 30.

This is not the first study to determine that social interaction influences pregnancy. A 2010 study called "Businesses, Buddies and Babies: Social Ties and Fertility at Work," which looked at pregnancy rates among coworkers, found "that there are non-trivial peer effects on the choice of timing in childbearing," and that the closer the coworkers in age and pay scale the stronger the influence they had on each other.

Balbo suggests several reasons for this subconscious pregnancy pact, including a feeling of pressure for friends to keep up with each other, and because "friends are an important learning source. Becoming a parent is a radical change. By observing their friends, people learn how to fulfill this new role."

The bond stemming from being part of the same high school social group is also a factor. A report from the psychological science department at Purdue researched the effects of social learning among children and teenagers, and found that children don't often outwardly pressure each other to engage in certain activities. Instead, for children to behave similarly, "all friends need to do is make that behavior seem exciting and enjoyable."

This childhood social reinforcement seems to carry over to adulthood for some friends. When a woman sees that her friend is happily expecting a child, her own wish to start a family increases, according to the ASA press release.

The attraction of belonging, of being part of the group, is also a reason pregnancy might be contagious: "Synchronizing childbearing with friends may reduce the risk of being left behind by friends who already have a child," the ASA report states.

The study authors stress that this effect is not because of a conscious decision among friends to have children at the same time, but is rather an example of how strongly friends can influence each other.


Original Post

Copyright 2013 Deseret Digital Media, Inc.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Sister of Boston bomb suspect arrested

    Sister of Boston bomb suspect arrested

    Thursday, August 28 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-08-28 13:15:04 GMT
    The NYPD arrested Ailina Tsarnaeva, the sister of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, for allegedly threatening to bomb a New York City woman, a police official confirmed. Tsarnaeva, of North Bergen, N.J., is accused of calling a woman Monday and warning her to stay away from her and her boyfriend.
    The NYPD arrested Ailina Tsarnaeva, the sister of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, for allegedly threatening to bomb a New York City woman, a police official confirmed. Tsarnaeva, of North Bergen, N.J., is accused of calling a woman Monday and warning her to stay away from her and her boyfriend.
  • Poll shows most New Yorkers support broken windows policy

    Poll shows most New Yorkers support broken windows policy

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:07 AM EDT2014-08-28 12:07:14 GMT

    A new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found overwhelming opposition to the way the arrest of Eric Garner was handled while the majority support the broken windows policy, which cracks down on low-level crimes to prevent bigger ones from occurring. Garner's death has brought the policy into the spotlight. The Staten Island man had been selling untaxed cigarettes when he was arrested. A police officer placed him in a chokehold and Garner died.

    A new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found overwhelming opposition to the way the arrest of Eric Garner was handled while the majority support the broken windows policy, which cracks down on low-level crimes to prevent bigger ones from occurring. Garner's death has brought the policy into the spotlight. The Staten Island man had been selling untaxed cigarettes when he was arrested. A police officer placed him in a chokehold and Garner died.

  • Times Square named as target

    Al Qaeda magazine hints of looming attack on US

    Al Qaeda magazine hints of looming attack on US

    Thursday, August 28 2014 7:42 AM EDT2014-08-28 11:42:37 GMT
    A new English-language Al Qaeda magazine features a how-to article on making car bombs and suggests terror targets in the United States, including casinos in Las Vegas, oil tankers and Times Square.
    A new English-language Al Qaeda magazine features a how-to article on making car bombs and suggests terror targets in the United States, including casinos in Las Vegas, oil tankers and Times Square.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices