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Millennium baby attempts `risky'

HEALTH OFFICIALS have warned couples not to fall for "media hype" by trying to conceive tonight in an attempt to have the first baby of the new millennium.

Tonight is theoretically the ideal night to conceive in order to give birth on 1 January. Tabloid newspaper editors and publicists such as Max Clifford are already promising untold millions to the first baby of the new year. But consultants are worried that a surge in births could pose health risks because hospitals will be operating with few staff.

Chemists are reporting a jump in the sales of pregnancy tests and ovulation predictors.

But family planning experts are warning that the chances of timing a birth exactly were slim. Only five per cent of women have babies when forecast. Tonight ITV is screening a programme with a guide to conception and romantic films while Classic FM has a night of "smooth classics".

A spokeswoman for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said: "The notion that the nation is going to be bonking [tonight] in order to have a baby on a certain day is absurd. Would-be parents want to conceive when it's right for them."

In Norway workers were given a morning off so they could use the time to produce a millennium baby. Anton Dahl, the Mayor of Kautukain, said: "This is a big joint effort for our town and I expect everyone to do their best."