You're more likely to become pregnant if your work colleagues are

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

We may all be working remotely at the moment, but please take note.

A new study has revealed that pregnancies are apparently 'contagious' between colleagues in a workplace.

Yes, that's right. It's not just your imagination that everyone in your office seems to be sporting a baby bump at the same time - there's now scientific validation. 

The research, conducted by the University of Cologne, found that if a colleague becomes a mother, the chances of further pregnancies in the workplace increases – and the same effect can be found between siblings.

How so? It's all about mindset and a 'chain reaction', according to the research team. 

"We suspect that this kind of effect happens in the workplace primarily due to social learning; colleagues may influence each other's fertility decisions because they can learn from them about the consequences of becoming a parent, and how parenthood influences work and family life," says lead researcher Professor Thomas Leopold.

So basically, if you see or hear about someone in your social network having a baby and how much they love being a parent, you may "catch" their emotions, promoting a desire to have a child yourself. This phenomenon can even occur "without you being aware of it."

And no, you don't have to be in close physical proximity to the other person - even seeing pregnancy announcements on social media for example, could have the same impact. 

The researchers came up with these findings by analysing data from the Dutch systems of Social Statistical Datasets (SSD), which contains information about family members and workplaces of the whole Dutch population.

The study also revealed the same findings in reverse - namely, those people who are of reproductive age, who rarely experience births among their siblings and colleagues, are less likely to have children.

Without the contagion effects, the number of pregnancies in the workplace would drop by 5.8 per cent if other colleagues weren't pregnant. If a sibling wasn't pregnant, the chances of you making the decision to have a baby would also drop by 1.5 per cent.

We're not sure exactly how this works if the new mums in your proximity are finding parenthood difficult and constantly complaining about their newborn - which lets face it, is everyone - but interesting findings nonetheless!