LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Nationwide lockdowns earlier this year prompted a question for many people: will we experience a “baby boom?” After all, we spent a lot of time inside.
Nine months later, one central Kentucky healthcare provider says she believes the pandemic led to more pregnancies, at least regionally.
“In central Kentucky, I am expecting a boom for sure,” said Alisha Morgan, a certified nurse midwife at Lexington Women’s Health.
She says births at their office this month are up 40% from the same time in 2019. The expected number of babies due in January is up 24%.
“It’s just sort of an old joke, in the obstetrical community. Anytime there is a holiday, a snowstorm, anything like that, we start doing the calculations,” she said. “When’s everyone going to start coming in?”
A Georgetown family may prove the adage true. Ashley Lindon gave birth to her second daughter just over a week ago.
“I remember when we found out we were pregnant, when everything just started, and everyone said, ‘Oh, is this a quarantine baby?’” she said. For her and her husband Neil, the answer was: “Yes. Mine was.”
Turns out, their whole family was about to experience a baby boom of their own. Ashley’s sister-in-law Katelynne Burchfield is pregnant, too, due with her second son at the end of January. Lindon and Burchfield’s cousin is also due in March.
“We were all pregnant at the same time two years ago, and now we’re all pregnant right now,” said Burchfield.
While it’s still an exciting time, pregnancy during COVID-19 comes with additional challenges. According to Morgan, women are now more isolated during their pregnancies, when usually they would constantly be surrounded by loved ones. COVID guidelines mean women’s partners or other family members might not be with them for big moments along the way.
“COVID has completely changed birth culture,” Morgan said.
Lindon and Burchfield know that firsthand. But for their family, their new additions are proof joy can arrive in the smallest of packages, even when you least expect it.
“It’s been so enjoyable to go through pregnancy not just with a relative, but with your sister-in-law,” Burchfield said.
“It’s the cherry on top of this whole year,” Lindon said.
Nationally, experts at the Brookings Institution predict the opposite of a baby boom – a “baby bust!” They say the United States will likely experience 300,000 fewer births in 2021. According to researchers, multiple factors are at play, including anxiety over coronavirus and a loss of jobs.