Alf is fascinated at finding 40 per cent of the babies born in Auckland and the Waikato in the past year were “accidents”.
As the Herald tells us –
The taxpayer-funded 21-year study, which will follow 7000 babies until they reach adulthood, has pinned down the proportion of unplanned babies more accurately than any other long-term study because it started questioning mothers and fathers about three months before their babies were born.
Alf is not so sure it’s worth investing $5 million a year into the study that established how many pregnancies are unplanned.
But wait – maybe there’s more to it.
Yes, the Herald further tells us the study found that:
* Widespread intermarriage means that almost half of the babies in the study area have multiple ethnicities.
* Two out of five babies are born in the poorest third of the region, and half are in families that don’t own their own homes.
* More than a third of first-time mothers do not know about family tax credits that could give them an extra $86 a week.
The study is aimed (among other things) at finding the factors that help some children do better in life than others.
Maybe it will explain how come Alf has done so much better than a bloke called Fred, with whom he went to school. Fred has not done so well, and is something of a layabout, and has spent a bit of time in jail.
He also votes Labour.
This prompts Alf to wonder if the study could explain why some of us (like Alf) become successful Nats rather than losers, tossers and Labour or Green MPs, harping and carping from the opposition benches at all the good things we are doing.
Alf – for what it’s worth – finds great meaning in the 40 per cent figure.
The finding that 40 per cent of births are unplanned has huge implications because unborn babies may be harmed by the mother’s drinking, eating and smoking before she realises she is pregnant.
Almost a third (31 per cent) of the women who fell pregnant by accident drank alcohol during the first three months of their pregnancy, compared with only 17 per cent of the women whose babies were planned.
First, Alf has no reason to suppose the magical 40 per cent of accidental births would not be mirrored nation-wide.
There’s nothing special about being conceived and born in Auckland or the Waikato, let’s face it.
Moreover, Alf reckons the 40 per cent has profound political significance.
His theory has been that life’s accidents are destined to become failed Labourites or Greenies, whereas those like Alf whose births were planned and intended are likely to become successful Nats.
It is no accident, he points out, that Labour and the Greens between them got around 40 per cent of the vote at the last election, and hence secured equivalent representation in Parliament.
Booze perhaps explains the accidental arrival upon the planet of these left-leaning layabouts.
The study will dig out more on this.
“We will be able to track how those patterns of drinking before and during pregnancy are reflected in birth outcomes and early development,” said study director Dr Susan Morton of Auckland University.
“That is novel internationally.”
Dr Morton said the proportion of unplanned babies was slightly lower than the Health Ministry’s previous “best guess” of around half.
Obviously this is worth knowing, especially now that Alf has drawn attention to how the number is mirrored in the political make-up of our Parliament.
Political science will be aided and abetted by the findings.