It looks like the stork will be visiting the cast of Vanderpump Rules once again! On Monday, stars Brittany Cartwright and Jax Taylor shared that they are expecting their first baby. The 31-year-old mother-to-be took to Instagram to post her announcement (as did her husband) with a photo of the couple holding their sonogram for the world to witness. Cartwright is nearly out of her first trimester, and told PEOPLE that after trying to get pregnant for five months, “we just can’t wait to grow our family.”
Cartwright’s pregnancy is the third to happen among Vanderpump cast members in recent months. Back in June and not long after she was fired from the show, former VPR co-star Stassi Schroeder revealed her pregnancy with fiancé Beau Clark—the first for the couple who got engaged in July 2019.
It’s enough to make you wonder if pregnancies spread among friend groups more often than we think. After all, who among us hasn’t noticed a significant uptick in baby announcements on social media coming in waves? But is it intentional, totally accidental or more related to human behavior? And moreover, is it at all possible that pregnancies are, in a way, contagious?
The answer may surprise you.
According to one study back in 2014 published in the American Sociological Review, the answer is that it’s certainly possible. The study followed 1,720 test subjects for roughly 15 years to see which ones wound up getting pregnant and to glean any patterns on their pregnancies as well as those of close friends. Researchers found that a “friend’s childbearing increases an individual’s risk of becoming a parent,” or more to the point, if your friends are having babies, there’s better odds that you will, too.
That said, they found that your odds of sporting a baby bump alongside your besties isn’t long term. The “risk” (or for some, the welcomed chance) of getting pregnant starts to go up once your friends are pregnant and “reaches its peak approximately two years later, and then decreases.” So if two of your friends get pregnant, you might “catch” baby fever right around then, but once those babies hit the toddler years, it will likely subside.
Now, this particular study initially centered around high school friends, so it’s totally possible that if your current circle of friends are all new people of varying ages, that you won’t be at “risk,” so to speak.
Other studies have been conducted around this bizarre phenomenon, and mom-site Motherly has reported on several of these, including the way in which friendships can also influence the number of babies you end up having. Overall though, it’s not entirely surprising that people who grow up together, and are of similar age, and may come from similar backgrounds, may end up opting to have children around the same time.
Of course, more studies need to be done. And while centered on pregnancy and having children, the initial study did mention that if one friend has an abortion, it may also influence others as to whether they opt to terminate or not. Taking that into account, even if you don’t see groups of friends all having babies simultaneously, that doesn’t mean some didn’t get pregnant and then exercise their right to choose.
Overall though, it seems that if you’re noticing your friends all getting pregnant at once, you may end up wanting to as well (and if babies aren’t for you, it’s never too late to stock up on birth control).
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