Britain is on the cusp of a Covid baby boom, with internet searches for folic acid and other pregnancy vitamins rising dramatically compared to March 2020, reveals research by alcohol-free spirits producer Bax Botanics.
Searches for folic acid were last week 55% higher than they were in March 2020, when the first period of lockdown began. Interest in the food supplement was highest in the week of 14 February 2021, when searches were up 72% compared to March 2020.
Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is a food supplement that helps support the development of a healthy foetus. The government recommends women take it while trying to get pregnant and during the first three months of pregnancy.
Interest in other pregnancy vitamins was also up significantly in the first months of this year. Searches were last week 140% higher than they were in March 2020, and peaked at 280% in the week of Valentine’s Day.
Graph: Searches for ‘Folic acid’ and ‘Pregnancy vitamins’ from 01/01/20 to 28/02/21
There is evidence that the ongoing pandemic has led to a UK-wide baby bust. Data from NHS Trusts revealed that the number of 12-week scans carried out in 2020 was down 4% on the previous year.
But the rising interest in folic acid and pregnancy vitamins at the start of this year indicates this trend may be starting to reverse.
Chris Bax, head distiller of Bax Botanics, said: “Covid has forced all of us to put our lives on hold, and thousands of young couples ready to start a family have had to postpone their plans due to furlough and redundancy.
The tide looks like it is about to change, and our research shows that searches for folic acid and pregnancy vitamins have rocketed in recent months.
Vitamins are a great way for women to look after the health of their growing baby, and removing alcohol, caffeine and nicotine from the diet are also important.
Cutting alcohol during pregnancy doesn’t have to be an ordeal, though. The good news for pregnant women about to reunite with friends and family after lockdown is that there are plenty of great-tasting natural and luxurious alternatives to a gin and tonic.”