Number of births in Flanders dropped by 6.5 percent in past 10 years

According to the Study Centre for Perinatal Epidemiology (SPE), the number of births in Flanders has fallen by about 6.5 percent over the past decade. The SPE revealed this on Wednesday in their report on births and deliveries.

Last year, 64,282 children were born in Flanders, down from 68,757 in 2012. The COVID-19 pandemic did not have a major impact on perinatal health. During the first months of the pandemic, the SPE does note a decrease in preterm births (after less than 37 weeks of gestation) and late births (longer than 40 weeks), followed by a limited increase from January 2021.

A continuing trend is the increase in overweight and obese mothers. At the start of pregnancy, four in ten Flemish women have an unhealthy BMI: a quarter are overweight and almost 15 percent are obese. Ten years ago, the percentage of overweight mothers was about 7 percent lower. 

The SPE calls this an alarming trend. "With excessive BMI during pregnancy, there is significantly more risk of developing diabetes, hypertension and having a caesarean section." The children of obese women are significantly more likely to have weight problems themselves later on, according to the organisation.



#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS

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