In the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, just as the UK entered its first national lockdown, midwives were bracing themselves for a busy period in nine months' time.
Speculation that enforced time at home would lead to a boom in pregnancies abounded, but while the expected baby boom never occurred, there were some months that saw more conceptions than others.
June 2020 was the month in which the most 'COVID babies' were conceived, according to data by insurance company Reassured.
The researchers analysed ONS births data and combined it with local register office figures sourced via freedom of information requests, to see how lockdown baby numbers compared with those pre-pandemic.
The figures reveal that there were nearly a quarter of a million (222,409) ‘COVID babies’ conceived during the various lockdowns and born in the UK since December 2020.
Though these figures are roughly the same as the number of babies born in non-pandemic times, the data did reveal some peak dates for conception rates, namely the beginning of March 2020 (ahead of the first national lockdown on 23 March 2020) and the end of that lockdown in June 2020.
In late December 2020 and early January 2021, we saw a higher-than-normal birth rate, with 47,823 and 47,500 births registered respectively.
In late-March 2021 we saw a similar pattern, with 52,473 births registered across the UK. Working back nine months this reveals June 2020 as the peak month for ‘COVID baby’ conception.
The 'peak' birthday was found to be 23 March, 2021 - exactly nine months after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an easing of lockdown rules on 23 June, 2020. Coincidence?
As well as revealing the most popular periods for pandemic patters of tiny feet, the data also revealed some of the top hotspots for new arrivals, with Wales, Reading, and London all welcoming a higher than average number of babies between December 2020 and June 2021, compared to the same period in 2019-2020.
The Vale of Glamorgan, which borders Bridgend, Cardiff, and Rhondda Cynon Ta, was the area that came out on top, with birth registrations up a whopping 345% year on year.
However, it's worth noting that fewer than 60 newborns are registered here each year on average.
Watch: COVID-19 in babies: what parents need to know.
Second on the list was Reading, Berkshire, with birth registrations up 196%, while Bexley in London came in third spot for an increase in births, up 193%.
Other pandemic birth hotspots include Sandwell, Swansea and Surrey who saw rises in the number of babies born of 187%, 176% and 171% respectively.
Commenting on the findings a spokesperson for Reassured said: “With all COVID-19 restrictions now lifted, we’re finally able to look back and explore any more positive outcomes of such a challenging time.
“Our analysis shows many took the big step of having a child in lockdown, with nearly a quarter of a million newborn babies registered by parents from December 2020 – nine months after the restrictive COVID-19 measures were put in place."
COVID baby boom areas:
1. Vale of Glamorgan (baby registrations up 345% December 2020 - June 2021 versus December 2019 -June 2020)
2. Reading (up 196%)
3. Bexley, London (up 193%)
4. Sandwell, West Midlands (up 187%)
5. Swansea, Wales (up 176%)
6. Surrey (up 171%)
7. Doncaster (up 154%)
8. Dorset (up 154%)
9. Suffolk (up 152%)
10. Wokingham (up 144%)
11. Rutland (up 110%)
12. Birmingham (up 79%)
13. Wirral (up 78%)
14. Lambeth, London (up 69%)
15. Hounslow, London (up 68%)
16. Buckinghamshire (up 60%)
17. Bristol (up 60%)
18. Northamptonshire (up 58%)
19. Blackpool (up 57%)
20. Central Bedfordshire (up 50%)