The pressures of pregnancyBMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g2789 (Published 16 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2789
All rapid responses
Pregnancy and child rearing and family development are a crucial ingredient in all human societies. Best case scenario is that females have their families when they are young and have the health and energy levels to maintain a vibrant lifestyle which motherhood requires. The pregnancy outcomes from younger women are much better than for older women, both for mother and baby. The article on hypertension and older pregnancy in this edition of the BMJ highlights this.
The other relevant article in this edition is the plummeting birth rate in teenagers in UK and USA. The obvious reason is because the teenagers are taking contraceptives. The downstream effects of contraception is that pregnancy gets pushed into the third and fourth decades. This results in smaller families. The long term effect of this is an upside-down demography where you have more older people than younger people. Older people use more fossil fuel for heating, transport, complex medical needs etc and so if the fossil fuel global warming theory is correct the more elderly you have the warmer it gets.
The northern hemisphere is top heavy with older people and these depend more and more on a dwindling cohort of young workers. To prop up this situation millions of workers from other countries (who have enough young people) have to come and service the economy or else the situation would collapse. This is a real evidence base for what contraception at a population level does to a country over a generation or two. It thins out the workforce, reduces family size, which in turn reduces social connectedness and support for the elderly with all the financial implications this has, and makes fossil fuel consumption worse by having to put elderly into high carbon using hospitals, nursing homes and intensive nursing units.
The other impact of contraception is that it is directly responsible for the increase of invasive breast cancer in young women. The number of women between the ages of 25 and 39 who got breast cancer with secondary spread in USA between the years 1976 and 2009 almost doubled.1 This is also a real evidence base. Overpopulation itself is a myth and the impact that the human population has on climate change is also unfounded and possibly grossly overstated. Contraception is the wolf in sheep's clothing since it skews a population toward a dependent elderly demographic.
1.Johnson RH,Chien FL, et al. JAMA: Feb 27th; 2013.
Competing interests: I have published a book on breast cancer and contraception called "The Screech Owls of Breast Cancer". Available online.!