António Maria was born in September, four months ago on Saturday. The planned parents, who has 3 brothers to Maria Francisca. Still, they postponed his birth a year due to the pandemic, but having a second child was never in question. They belong to the group of families that saw an increase in the number of elements in the past, but which are much less than in 2021. compared to 2019.
“Both Peter [marido] “She turned one in December 2019 and would think about another child in 2020, but she wouldn’t start going into confinement and the pandemic would bring some indecision, we knew very little of what we would be. From the moment the vaccines arrive and when things started to get more hopeful, we solved more”, he says.
But data from the National Neonatal Screening Program, commonly known as the “foot test”, indicates a large drop in birth rates and that, for the first time, Portugal has dropped below 80,000 children in a year.
The Doctor is coordinated by the Ricardo Jorge National Health Institute, having studied 27 newborns. 6239 fewer diagnoses in 2021 compared to 2020. This is a greater drop than in the first year of the pandemic (2020), 2.9% fewer diagnoses than in 2019, from 87,364 to 85,456.
The examination is carried out between the third and sixth days after the birth of the child, which is why its total is not equal to the number of births in a year. However, it is a great indicator. And, with just over 79,000 tests carried out, it could mean that Portugal for the first time will go below 80,000 babies triggered. In 2020, 84,426 children were born in the country and, in 2019, 86,579, a number always lower than the total number of neonatal diagnoses. Two years ago there will be a drop in the fertility rate, which was 1.4 children per woman of childbearing age.
For economic reasons, housing would never be an obstacle for Andréia and Pedro (Neves, 39, project director) to have at least two children. Although he recognizes that they have financial conditions. And they live in Cortes (Leiria), in a large villa that, in 2018, cost the same as a T2 today in Lisbon. The day care is also more affordable, but it is still 390 euros for the first child, in a private school.
“Of course it is important in terms of conditions, but it is not because you have a smaller or bigger house that you have children or not. There are more important things when you think about having a child”, defends Andreia.
In his case, there was the imminence of no job, which would be confirmed. He had a charge of political appointment in an autarchy of the county, whose mayor was not re-elected. She will be on maternity leave until February, the month she starts a new project. In Portugal, parents are entitled to five months of paid leave at 100%, two more at 83% and three more (extended leave) at 25%.
António Maria goes to school in February, the same one where his sister goes. And a third child? The mother replies: “We would like to have more children, but it depends on how things will evolve, I will not deny that it is a great financial effort. Now, let’s deny that it is a school, let’s see financially. and Maria Francisca. But having more children is not a closed door.”
Andreia hears the data on the reduction in the birth rate in the country and says that, in her group of friends, there are several couples who are already having their second child and there are also three. “We’re still venturing out,” comment. Consider that it is difficult for a woman to reconcile motherhood with her career, which causes this moment to be postponed and this could be the reason for the drop in birth rates. I was born when mom was still in college but before. There were a lot of difficulties in doing so. Nowadays, the role of women in society, the profession, makes maternity leave to be postponed”, explains Andreia Marques.
The largest number of people screened follows the country’s district number: Lisbon with 23,49 babies and Porto, with 14,736. Setúbal (5,919) and Braga (5,833). In the opposite direction are the districts in the interior of the country, with Bragança registering only 513 tests. Portalegre (584) and Guarda (645) complete the list of the three districts with the fewest newborns studied.
The “foot test” has been carried out since 1979, with the aim of detecting serious diseases