Are You Part of the Post-Sandy Birth Bump?
Hurricane Sandy is the latest culprit in a long line of disaster-related baby booms
If you’re due in late July or early August, we want to know: Where were you on the night of October 29? If your answer involves cuddling up to your mate in the dark as you rode out Hurricane Sandy, welcome to the post-storm baby boom now evident in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
How much of a post-Sandy bump in birth rates are we talking? One obstetrics practice just outside New York City says it’s seeing a 30 percent increase over previous years in women due approximately nine months post-Sandy, reports the New York Post.
“We started noticing a couple of weeks ago that we were getting really busy with phone calls and lab results and charts. We were like, what is going on here? And then all of a sudden, it dawned on me! This is right about the time when people would be coming in because they got pregnant during Hurricane Sandy,” Linda Roberts, a nurse manager at an OB/GYN office in Westchester County, tells the Post.
Roberts confirmed her suspicions when she checked out patients’ actual due dates. “I looked at between July 15 and Aug. 15, which is when those people would be due, and sure enough, we have about a third more people delivering during that period than we usually have.”
Should this rise in birth rates come as a surprise? Dr. Jacques Moritz, director of the division of gynecology at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, says no. “In the past, there was a bump during 9/11, there have been bumps after blackouts and hurricanes, but Sandy went on for quite a while, and events that cause power outages really bring—how should I say this?—people closer together” he notes in the Post.
As for why natural or man-made disasters inspire couples to have a baby, the reasons may be as simple as finding—ahem—”something to do” until the power comes back on. Or it can be about more complex issues, such as contemplating one’s own mortality in the face of harrowing circumstances. If you’ve ever had that “life’s too short, so let’s not wait anymore to have children” moment, then you can probably relate.
Of course, as Dr. Moritz points out, a much less romantic explanation could that couples didn’t have access to their normal birth control methods during times of disaster.
However, one mom who can attest to the power of the weather to improve romance—and help with conception—is Julie Beltman, a mom in Cincinnati, Ohio, who credits a snowstorm with helping to conceive her first child.
“It always seemed like we were ‘too busy’ to start trying, but then work was canceled because of the snow and we were trapped in the house,” she remembers. “I knew I was ovulating, so we lit some candles for ambiance, and just let Mother Nature do her thing… two weeks later, the pregnancy test was positive. I usually hate snow, but that time I wanted to go out and make snow angels!”
As for the moms due this summer, there’s just one more question we’ll have to wait to find out the answer to, and it involves the all-important matter of baby names. What do you think: Sandy or Storm?
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