Sales of pregnancy tests in Belgium up by a quarter during coronavirus lockdown

James Crisp
Could a Belgian baby boom be in the offing? - Image Source / Alamy Stock Photo /Image Source / Alamy Stock Photo 

Sales of pregnancy tests in Belgium have soared by about a quarter since the beginning of the Coronavirus lockdown in the country in March. 

There are hopes of a "Corona Baby Boom" in Belgium, after pharmacists and supermarkets reported the 25 percent surge on Tuesday. 

“We were not surprised at the requests for vitamins, masks and hydroalcoholic gel”, one pharmacist told the Le Soir newspaper, “but we didn’t expect the pregnancy tests”.

The Office of Cooperative Pharmacies in Belgium, which represents nearly 600 chemists, confirmed the increase was around 25 percent. 

“We have indeed seen a kind of boom in sales of this product,” said Anne Santi, of the group, “it is difficult to interpret as purchasing behaviour has been disrupted by Covid-19 and the lockdown.”

Coronavirus Belgium Spotlight Chart - Cases default

"I can confirm that the sales of pregnancy tests have increased in recent weeks," said a spokeswoman for the Carrefour supermarket group. 

The product is in the top ten of consumer goods to see big developments in sales since the pandemic hit Belgium. 

Pregnancy test sales have soared alongside sugar, yeast, flour and toilet paper during the pandemic. Pharmacies and supermarkets stayed open through the lockdown and most shops have now reopened their doors in Belgium.

Expectations of an explosion in Belgium’s 11.5 million strong population should be managed, some experts warned. 

Doctors said that stress and lack of sleep, which could be caused by lockdown, can all delay the menstrual cycle. Women may have bought a test after missing their usual period. 

The fact that doctors and gynecologists limited their consultations to emergencies and pregnancy monitoring during the lockdown could also be responsible for the increased numbers of tests. 

According to the Nielsen retail sales observatory, sales of pregnancy tests increased by 37 percent in France between April 13 to 19.

Belgium’s National Security Council announced on Tuesday that 23 people had died from coronavirus in the previous 24 hours.  198 new cases of infection were reported on Monday with 39 people being hospitalised. 

A total of 9,334 deaths have been blamed on coronavirus in Belgium since the pandemic began. 

Forty-eight per cent of the victims died in hospital and 51 per cent in care homes, with the rest dying at home or elsewhere.