Endangered Lithuania: when women give birth more and more later is inevitable
A pandemic that scares and discourages part of the population from thinking about a large family does not help either. At the Woman and Child Clinic of Šiauliai Hospital, doctors hand over their first-born son to Rūta, who saw her patient: “We planned. We just started thinking with my husband that we wanted a family, we wanted a son or a daughter, and that’s how we got it. Joris appeared. “
According to the young mother, the coronavirus pandemic somewhat frightened the young couple, but the family decided not to change their plans. Rūta already mentions that she may want a second child as well: “We were somehow not very affected, we were a little afraid of the pandemic, but we reacted very calmly. We still have to grow this up, and then we’ll see if we want to. “
Doctors at the Woman and Child Clinic of Šiauliai Hospital have less and less work. Doctors have a tenth fewer newborns each year.
“If in 2016 we had an increase due to certain territorial circumstances due to the change in the number of maternity hospitals, we had 2,300 newborns, then in 2020 that number was 1,700,” says Emilija Bogužienė, the head of the Women’s and Child Clinic.
This problem exists in all regions of Lithuania. About 20,600 babies were born in 10 months this year, which is almost a thousand less than last year.
The number of newborns is falling every year. According to the data of the Department of Statistics, almost 24 thousand newborns were registered in Lithuanian hospitals in 2020. In 2017, that number was close to 29,000.
“I see women giving birth as they get older. Why? This is the other side here, ”says Diana Ramašauskaitė, President of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
“People are primarily planning their lives. They want to create a material foundation and then they want to have children. Next moment, families are no longer planning on having more than 2 children. They give birth to 1, 2, they say: we have enough, ”says E. Bogužienė.
According to demographer Roland Tucho, the average age of a woman giving birth rises by almost two months each year, currently reaching 30.5 years.
“The further the generation of values changes, the emancipation of women, the more they devote varnish to themselves, the later they get married, the more time for their careers,” R. Tučas assures.
“When older women decide to have children, they will undoubtedly get pregnant with the problem that they can’t, and then they may not be able to conceive, giving birth to premature babies who demand it. During her remaining reproductive time, a woman can have only one or two children, ”explains D. Ramašauskaitė.
The number of newborns has also declined due to a lack of sense of security. Young families are worried about their financial future, and the coronavirus pandemic adds to the tension. There is a lack of services that have become available due to the high incidence of COVID-19.
“We even created a special line that was for pregnant women. Families with preterm infants as everyone got stuck in the hospital during a pandemic during childbirth. Even male fathers called, crying themselves into the handset being separated from their wife, who was in crisis. She was born prematurely, she was ill, ”says Asta Speičytė-Radzevičienė, the leader of the“ Growing Lithuania ”initiative.
NGOs are asking the government to create a better system of psychological, emotional support for young families.
“What I’m really focused on is my personal effort, it’s a family package initiative. To create a more conducive environment. Practical solutions that often do not require even more funds. Whether it would be children’s rooms in institutions or a weekday of 4 working days, ”says the Speaker of the Seimas Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen.
Contrary to the opposition of the Seimas, the rulers believe that abundant financial support for families does not always bear fruit.
“Poland, for example, has tried to put everything less on higher benefits for children. On monetary support. It was seen that that birth rate did not give the desired indicator, ”says Seimas member Mindaugas Lingė.
“Currently, there is a pause in family strengthening measures, because the child’s money is growing very symbolically compared to the growth of other groups,” comments Linas Kukuraitis, a member of the “On behalf of Lithuania” faction.
Demographers make sad predictions. It is speculated that the annual number of newborns in Lithuania may fall to 15 in a decade, which is another 9,000 less than last year.